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Hotel sued for restricting employee, retaliating

A luxury hotel in our nation's Capital is subject to legal action from one of their employees after management allegedly restricted him during a visit from diplomats. The employee says that he complained about the restriction and then had his hours cut in retaliation. If the allegations are true, the conduct by the hotel and manager constitutes national origin or religious discrimination, which is prohibited.

The lawsuit alleges that a hotel manager instructed employees who were Arab or Muslim to stay off of certain floors of the hotel during the time when a particular group of diplomats was staying at the hotel. The employee who filed the complaint is a U.S. citizen who practices Islam and was born in Morocco. He works as a valet dry cleaner for the hotel and relies heavily on tips, which he says he lost while restricted from certain areas.

The man complained to human resources about this, who indicated that the Department of State had mentioned some concerns about some employees, but not who or what the concerns were about. After that conversation the man found his hours dramatically reduced.

The employee filed his suit under the federal Civil Rights Act and the District of Columbia's Human Rights Act. He also pursued claims of retaliation and a disparate treatment claim. The disparate treatment claim was dismissed by the judge who reviewed the hotel's motion to dismiss the whole case. The judge also dismissed claims that the three days of restricted floor access impacted the man's income significantly, although she did allow the retaliation claim for lost wages when the man's hours were cut after complaining.

Source: Courthouse News Service, "Catering to Israeli Guests May Cost Mandarin Hotel," Dan Mccue, June 12, 2012.

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