On Thursday, California’s Department of Fair Employment & Housing ordered Airbnb host Tami Baker to pay $5,000 in damages and to take a college-level course in Asian American studies for canceling a reservation on an Airbnb guest because of her race.
California’s civil rights law prohibits discrimination in places of public accommodation. As an attorney and, I hope, as a fairly decent human being, I am truly to happy to see this law applied against the host.
Ms. Baker must also personally apologize to Dyne Suh – the Airbnb guest who had her reservation cancelled.
It’s no secret that I am not a fan of Airbnb, and I think the company has a lot it needs to do to ensure that guests don’t have their reservations cancelled. I think there’s no question that discrimination will continue to exist in the platform (and I specifically know people who do not use a picture in their profile because they’ve had trouble securing reservations because of their race). While making hosts liable for cancelled reservations is a great start, it’s telling that this policy came from the state of California, not from Airbnb itself.