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

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

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.

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.

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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.

Author: Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1979), beginning as a travel agent up through today as a publisher of eTurboNews (eTN), one of the world’s most influential and most-read travel and tourism publications. He is also Chairman of ICTP. His experiences include working and collaborating with various national tourism offices and non-governmental organizations, as well as private and non-profit organizations, and in planning, implementing, and quality control of a range of travel and tourism-related activities and programs, including tourism policies and legislation. His major strengths include a vast knowledge of travel and tourism from the point of view of a successful private enterprise owner, superb networking skills, strong leadership, excellent communication skills, strong team player, attention to detail, dutiful respect for compliance in all regulated environments, and advisory skills in both political and non-political arenas with respect to tourism programs, policies, and legislation. He has a thorough knowledge of current industry practices and trends and is a computer and Internet junkie.

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