For immediate release
August 8, 2007
African Americans File Discrimination Claim Against Prestigious Ritz Carlton Huntington Hotel, says UNITE HERE
NAACP Joins Clergy and Community Members in Condemning Hotel's Treatment of African American and Latino Workers
PASADENA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–
The Ritz Carlton Huntington Resort and Spa located in Pasadena is a premier hotel in one of the most prestigious neighborhoods in California. But hotel workers allege that within the walls of the luxurious and exclusive Pasadena Ritz Carlton hotel, racial discrimination against African American and Latino workers exists, according to UNITE HERE.
At a press conference today outside the Pasadena Ritz Carlton, employees of the hotel announced that they had filed a discrimination complaint with the State of California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing. “From the information I have seen, it certainly appears that there’s a pattern of discrimination at the Ritz," said Anne Richardson, an attorney at Hadsell & Stormer in Pasadena who specializes in employment discrimination.
African American workers allege that managers have subjected them to humiliating remarks about the color of their skin and both Latino and African American Ritz Carlton workers alleged being denied advancement opportunities.
“I have worked at the hotel for 17 years as a cook. In the last 14 years I have not received a promotion. Even worse, I have been subjected to racist comments about the color of my skin, I was even told by a manager as he put a bug light up ‘well Sheila, now we will be able to see you in the dark’,” said Sheila Green an African American cook at the Ritz Carlton Huntington Resort and Spa.
Latino workers also claim that they have been discriminated against. “I applied for a transfer from the housekeeping department to the call center. I have even gone to school to learn English with the hope of moving out of the backbreaking work of housekeeping. But I was told that my accent is too thick, yet they have workers with other types of accents at the call center,” said Elvia Alonza, a housekeeper at the Pasadena Ritz Carlton.
Workers also claim that discrimination is evident in disciplinary actions against workers of color at the Pasadena Ritz Carlton hotel. According to workers, there is a rule at the Pasadena Ritz Carlton that whenever you receive a written warning you are not allowed to transfer to another department or receive a promotion for a six month period. “I began to see a pattern that around every six months, we would receive written warnings. Somehow those workers that were not people of color escaped the process of written warnings. I feel like this was done to keep workers of colors from transferring to other departments,” said Alvin Moseberry a former front desk agent at the Pasadena Ritz Carlton.
UNITE HERE Local 11 represents over 10,000 hotel, food service, laundry, airport and stadium workers in the Los Angeles area. Local 11 has been assisting the Ritz Carlton Huntington Hotel’s non-managerial employees to organize for over 1 year.