A German hotel owner updated her hotel’s website and mentioned that her hotel was ‘not suitable’ for guests weighing more than 20.4st (130kg). This update on the website not only discouraged her guests but also fetched her lot of criticism.
The hotel, Beachhotel Sahlenburg is located in the beachside town of Cuxhaven and owned by Angelika Hargesheimer. The disclaimer given by her read, “For reasons of liability, we would like to point out that the interior is not suitable for people with a bodyweight of more than 130 kilograms.”
The local media was not happy with the disclaimer and naturally, they went to interview the hotel. While speaking to the local media, Hargesheimer explained that she came up with the rule after concerns that overweight guests might damage her ‘classical’ furniture. She added that her hotel was ‘designer hotel’ and she was not willing to trade out her pieces for more ‘sturdy furniture’. She further said that the disclaimer given had no intention of discrimination and the decision was made after she was sued by an overweight guest whose bed had collapsed.
The matter with the guest could have gone to court as the guest wanted to sue the hotel for charges for damages but both parties later made an out of court settlement. She also told the local media about the various complaints she received from the overweight guests like chairs in the breakfast area not being comfortable, struggle to fit in the shower cubicles, etc.
She just wanted her guests to enjoy their stay at their hotel until this matter was seen as a discriminatory issue. Although, the experts suggest that she did not break any anti-discrimination rules. A member of the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency, Sebastian Bickerich told the newspaper that, “Only if an overweight person reaches the threshold of a disability does protection against discrimination exist.” “Therefore, it should be difficult for those affected to take legal action against provisions such as in the hotel you described, with reference to the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG).”
However, there was one person who saw it offending and registered a legal complaint against the hotel. It was Natalie Rosenke from the Society Against Weight Discrimination. She told the newspaper that, “Legal protection against weight discrimination is overdue!”
While Friedrich Schorb from the University of Bremen felt that there was nothing wrong with the rules and were legal. But the hotel’s policy supported the ‘isolation of obese people’ and was ‘humiliating’.
We can’t know if the German owner meant any harm or not. But if she changed her hotel’s policy given her guests comfort then she wasn’t wrong. Although, we feel that she could have used better words and language to highlight the issue. We strongly believe that there shall not be any discrimination but in this case, if pushing obese people away from injuries then the hotel did not do anything wrong. No one wants unpleasant guests who might sue the hotel later.