The posh SLS South Beach hotel has settled with 17 Haitian dishwashers for $2.5 million. The employees claim to have been mistreated, called “slaves” and eventually fired for their cultural background.
The allegations initially surfaced in 2014, leading the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to file a discrimination suit on behalf of the former employees.
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The lawsuit specifies that the former employees were banned from speaking Creole while Spanish-speaking workers were not made to stop speaking their native tongue. The employees were also given more strenuous jobs such as lifting heavy items while walking up the establishment’s 13 flights.
EEOC will continue to protect workers in the hospitality industry, including the black Haitian community that makes up a significant part of the South Florida workforce,” Michael Farrell, district director for the EEOC’s Miami District Office, said in a release.
Apart from the settlement, managers and human resources executives will attend discrimination training at six SBE hotels and the corporation will provide the EEOC data on firings and layoffs over the span of the next three years.