Hilton has to pay $21 million for civil rights violation, but remains a welcoming place

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Towering over Brickell Avenue, Conrad Miami offers the ultimate in luxury accommodations, a serene rooftop pool, sprawling vistas of the bay, and easy access to elegant entertainment and dining. This is the description for Conrad Miami, operated by Hilton Hotel. The hotel may treat their wealthy guests very well, but not their lower positioned staff.

In 2015 the hotel violated the civil rights of one of a 60-year-old mother who was employed at their Conrad Miami property as a  dishwasher staff in 2015. This costs this global hotel group big time, a total of 21 million Dollars after a Monday court verdict in Miami.

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Today the hotel said: “We are very disappointed by the jury’s verdict, and don’t believe that it is supported by the facts of this case or the law. We intend to appeal, and demonstrate that the Conrad Miami was and remains a welcoming place for all guests and employees.”

Marie Jean Pierre had been a dishwasher for 10 years at the Conrad Miami when she was fired in 2016 for “unexcused absences” according to Sun Sentinel. She missed six Sundays to attend church.

But when Pierre started at the hotel in 2006 — it was then managed under Hilton Worldwide and in 2017 became Park Hotels and Resorts, she told her employer that she could not work on Sundays because of her religious beliefs.

In 2015, her kitchen manager George Colon assigned her to work Sunday despite the 2006 request. Despite co-workers swapping with Pierre so she could attend church, Colon eventually insisted that she work on Sunday. He later fired Pierre, according to The Miami Herald.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued Pierre a “right to sue” notice according to The Herald, and she then filed a lawsuit.

Marie Jean Pierre sued Hilton Worldwide claiming it had violated the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Title VII of the act outlaws discrimination that prohibits discrimination by covered employers on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

The federal jury in Miami ruled in Pierre’s favor Monday, granting her $36,000 for lost wages and $500,000 for emotional anguish.

Despite the jury granting her $21 million in punitive damages, The Sun-Sentinel reported Wednesday that punitive damages are capped in federal court and Pierre will likely receive around $500,000.

Park Hotels and Resorts, formerly known as Hilton Worldwide is based in Tysons, Virginia.