After receiving some bias reports, Airbnb will authorize California to examine for any discrimination bias by hosts. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing is responsible for conducting this audit, aiming to solve the problem of discrimination by Airbnb hosts against African-American and other minorities.
In an interview with Kevin Kish, the director of the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, Kish said: “Innovative technologies that change the way we do business and the way we access services have the potential to get rid of prejudices and also have the potential to perpetuate them.”
During this month, one of Airbnb hosts acted discriminatingly towards an Asian woman and told her that he “wouldn’t rent…to you if you were the last person on earth.” This is isn’t the first time for people report a discrimination issue. In 2015, a study by Harvard University found that possible renters who have African-American names find it hard to book rooms through Airbnb.
As a response to these criticisms, Airbnb voluntarily started to cooperate with the state of California to achieve a discrimination-free environment for everyone. “Our work with the state of California builds on our ongoing efforts to fight bias and we look forward to continuing to work with state leaders to ensure the Airbnb community is fair for everyone,” Airbnb’s general counsel Rob Chesnut said.
Course Of Action
Taking steps into solving the issue, users are now required to allow instant bookings and to sign an anti-discrimination agreement; a step forward that Airbnb put in place to fight discrimination.
“Airbnb has promised to gather and maintain some critical disaggregated data, to track changes in acceptance rates, and to show ‘statistically significant’ improvements over the next year and a half,” Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights stated.
Furthermore, the company is advising all renters who face racial discrimination to immediately file a complaint with DFEH against the racist host. There are more than 75,000 hosts in California but the agreement involved only those who have 2 or 3 listings and hosts who get complaints.