For immediate release
October 3, 2011
State Orders Irvine Hotel to Pay Workers for Years of Missed Breaks
Labor Commission finds Embassy Suites management violated state law, owes workers $36,000
IRVINE–A State hearing officer has found the Embassy Suites in Irvine guilty of denying rest breaks to hotel workers and has ordered the hotel pay $36,000 to workers.
Dozens of hotel workers filed complaints with the State of California in August 2010 after being denied the breaks to which they were entitled by law. At the time, the non-union workers walked off the job in a one-day strike to protest the pervasive problem.
The hotel is managed by Merritt Hospitality, a subsidiary of HEI Hotels.
An official from the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement listened to seven of the workers’ complaints in a formal hearing and awarded each worker about $5,000 in back pay. The remaining hotel workers who filed complaints will testify before a hearing officer in coming months.
"I feel vindicated," said Ana Maria Trevino, an Embassy Suites housekeeper. "Because of so much work, we rarely got to take breaks. It was just another way for the hotel managers to take advantage of us and maximize profits at our expense. I’m proud that we stood up, fought back and won."
California state law allows workers two 10-minute breaks and one 30-minute break in an eight-hour shift. According to the law, for every day that a break is missed, the worker is entitled to one hour of back pay from the employer.
"I only earn $10.02 an hour, so this extra money will help me make ends meet," Maribel Duarte, an Embassy Suites housekeeper of 16 years. "But more importantly, we showed Embassy Suites that it is not above the law. We have rights and the managers must respect them."
The Embassy Suites is located at 2120 Main Street in Irvine.