For immediate release
November 6, 2015
213-481-8530 ext 238
Feds Will Take Hilton Hotel to Trial in Subcontracted Worker Case
Hotel Near LAX Among First Companies Charged Since New Joint Employer Rule
[LOS ANGELES]–The federal government’s labor law enforcement agency issued a complaint Friday afternoon against the Hilton Garden Inn in El Segundo, owned and operated by Hilton Worldwide, alleging the hotel illegally fired a subcontracted housekeeper for exercising her rights under federal labor law. Hilton Worldwide is 45% owned by the Blackstone Group.
The announcement comes on the heels of a key National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision announced in August, Browning-Ferris Industries, affirming that companies can be held liable for violations of federal labor law committed against workers employed through temporary employment agencies.
The administrative proceeding against the El Segundo hotel, near Los Angeles International Airport, is one of the first in the heavily-subcontracted hospitality industry since the NLRB established the precedent.
The NLRB complaint alleges that the Hilton Garden Inn El Segundo illegally fired subcontracted housekeeper Maria Amaya for federally-protected organizing activities, and did so to discourage other employees from engaging in these activities. The complaint also alleges that a hotel manager implied that union supporters were disloyal to the company, thereby interfering with, restraining, and coercing employees in the exercise of their federal rights.
“Hilton tried to take away my rights and my voice and then hide behind the temporary agency, but I will stand up for myself so the company will have to treat all its workers fairly,” said Maria Amaya, age 32.
Ms. Amaya worked as a housekeeper at the Hilton Garden Inn in El Segundo through an employment agency called Horizon Personnel Services, though she did the same work as the housekeepers directly employed by the Hilton. She also followed the same work rules, worked in the same locations, used the same equipment and the same break room, was listed on the same weekly schedule, and wore the same uniform—including a nametag with the words “Hilton Garden Inn.”
During her approximately year working at the Hilton, Ms. Amaya was never issued discipline for any reason. But in March, a hotel manager told her they no longer had a need for her services. After her termination, the hotel assigned other workers to perform the work she had been doing.
UNITE HERE Local 11, the hospitality workers union, alleged that the Hilton Garden Inn and Horizon Personnel Services together violated Ms. Amaya’s rights under federal law by firing her for engaging in union organizing at her workplace.
In September, the government settled the complaint against the staffing agency, Horizon, which did not admit to violating the law by entering the settlement.
Blackstone Group is the world’s largest private equity company and also the largest hotel owner in the United States.
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UNITE HERE Local 11 represents more than 20,000 workers employed in hotels, restaurants, airports, sports arenas, and convention centers throughout Southern California. Learn more at www.unitehere11.org.