Legal

Hotel Groups to Settle EEOC Harassment Suit

By Judy Greenwald

Jul. 6, 2012

Two hotel groups have agreed to pay $365,000 to settle a harassment lawsuit brought by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in connection with the alleged actions of a general manager who worked for two hotels in the state of Washington.

According to a statement issued by the EEOC on July 5, the unidentified general manager of the Best Western Evergreen Inn in Federal Way, Washington, and the Best Western Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington, “persistently harassed and denigrated women, including those who were minorities and had strong religious beliefs, in violation of the federal law.” Court papers identify the general manager as Syed Ahmed.

The EEOC said female employees were subjected to the constant use of racial slurs and derogatory sex-based and racial comments.

Among other incidents cited in the EEOC statement, the general manager threw a stapler at one employee, and told another she was nothing but a welfare mother and should abort her pregnancy.

Under the settlement agreement, the companies that owned the hotels, Irvine Calif.-based Pacific Hospitality Group L.L.C., and Tacoma-based Seasons Hotel L.L.C., will pay a total of $365,000 to 11 victims. The EEOC also will monitor the hotels’ compliance with the decree’s other terms, which includes an agreement that they immediately fire the general manager.

“Federal law protects employees from this type of degrading mistreatment,” said EEOC San Francisco District Office Regional Attorney William R. Tamayo in a statement.

A spokesman for Pacific Hospitality had no comment, while a spokesman for Seasons Hotel could not immediately be reached for comment.

Judy Greenwald writes for Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, email editors@workforce.com.

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Judy Greenwald writes for Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management.

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