Motel 6 will pay $12 million to settle a lawsuit against the company for having routinely handed over the private information of its Washington state guests to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents over a two-year period.
From 2015 to 2017, seven Motel 6 locations in Washington daily shared the private information of its guests to ICE without their knowledge, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in the announcement of the lawsuit’s settlement late last week.
In total, the privacy of some 80,000 guests was violated, the Washington State Office of the Attorney General said.
“Motel 6’s actions tore families apart and violated the privacy rights of tens of thousands of Washingtonians,” Ferguson said. “Our resolution holds Motel 6 accountable for illegally handing over guests’ private information without a warrant.”
According to the statement, because of Motel 6’s willingness to hand over its customers’ information to ICE, many of its clients faced questions, detainment and deportation by the government agency.
The attorney general’s investigation found Motel 6’s actions “led to the detainment of at least nine Washingtonians and had serious consequences for several Washington families,” the statement said.
The attorney’s office also found that Motel 6’s disclosures resulted in ICE targeting customers with Latino-sounding names.
“For some guests, Motel 6’s disclosures resulted in the loss of their homes and jobs and separation from their families,” the statement said.
The $12 million Motel 6 has been ordered to pay will provide restitution and monetary damages to the roughly 80,000 guests whose information was provided to ICE.
Those who were affected by Motel 6’s illegal handling of their information are encouraged to contact the Attorney General’s Civil Rights Division for restitution.
On top of the payment, the resolution states that Motel 6 must nationwide adopt a policy barring its employees from providing guest information to anyone without being shown a warrant.
“Any other business that tries to violate Washingtonians’ right to privacy can expect to hear from my office,” Ferguson said.
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