Hertz Sued for Discriminating Against Drivers With Disabilities

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"Press Release: Hertz Rental, Hertz Sued for Discriminating against Drivers with Disabilities" + Cars parked in parking lot + DRA logo
“Press Release: Hertz Rental, Hertz Sued for Discriminating against Drivers with Disabilities” + Cars parked in parking lot + DRA logo

February 22, 2024Berkeley, CA—Today, nonprofit law firm Disability Rights Advocates filed a class action lawsuit in the Northern District of California against national car rental company Hertz to end its systemic civil rights violations against people with disabilities who need hand controls to operate a rental car. While there are many configurations, hand controls generally consist of a mechanism that allows drivers to accelerate and brake using one hand, and a “spinner knob” that allows for steering with the other hand. Hand controls can be installed and used in virtually any car on the market today. Read the complaint.

For many years, Hertz had a policy of providing hand controls for people with disabilities in a wide variety of its rental cars. Unfortunately, in recent years Hertz has made its services less accessible to people with disabilities by drastically reducing the models and types of vehicles that may be reserved with hand controls. This means that Hertz openly excludes people who need hand controls from renting a variety of vehicle categories that are available to the company’s nondisabled customers.

By depriving customers who need hand controls of the opportunity to rent whole categories of vehicles available to nondisabled customers, Hertz is denying people with disabilities the full and equal enjoyment of its goods and services that is their legal right under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

DRA represents two individuals—Christina Mills and Carina Ho—who use wheelchairs and require hand controls to operate a rental car. On multiple occasions, they have sought to rent a vehicle from Hertz but have found that hand controls were only available on an extremely limited (and often, more expensive) set of Hertz vehicles.

Plaintiff Christina Mills notes, “In a world full of choices for the nondisabled, I often am forced to take what’s available to me simply because I am a wheelchair user. If I’m spending my money, I want to rent the car I want and the one that works best for me—whether that’s a convertible to drive down the coast, or a van to haul me and my family around—in the same way that any other Hertz customer would. Hertz’s refusal to install hand controls in most vehicles denies me that choice, and it’s past time that they provide me and other people who need hand controls with the same access to their rental services that everyone else gets.”

According to Sean Betouliere, a Senior Staff Attorney at Disability Rights Advocates, people with disabilities have been asking Hertz to revise its discriminatory hand control policies since at least 2016, and in January 2024 Plaintiffs sent the company a final letter asking that it voluntarily do so. “Unfortunately,” Mr. Betouliere notes, “Hertz once again refused to make any changes, leaving us no choice but to file suit.”

About Disability Rights Advocates

Founded in 1993, Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) is a leading national nonprofit disability rights legal center. Its mission is to advance equal rights and opportunity for people with all types of disabilities nationwide. DRA represents people with the full spectrum of disabilities in complex, system-change, class action cases. DRA is proud to have upheld the promise of the ADA since our inception. Thanks to DRA’s precedent-setting work, people with disabilities across the country have dramatically improved access to health care, employment, transportation, education, disaster preparedness planning, voting and housing. For more information, visit www.dralegal.org.


Meredith Weaver, Senior Staff Attorney: mweaver@dralegal.org (510) 426-6834