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Marie Jean Pierre, a former dishwasher at the Conrad Miami, won $21 million against the hotel chain in a lawsuit on Tuesday. She had filed charges after upper management continuously scheduled her to work on Sundays, a day she uses to observe her religion. Her mangers eventually fired her for not complying.
The lawsuit was initially filed in 2017. Pierre alleged that the hotel continuously put her on the schedule on Sundays despite the fact that she had informed staff upon hiring that she wouldn’t be able to work that day due to religious obligations. After she threatened to resign in 2009, the hotel granted her requests to avoid working on Sundays.
However, in 2015, things began to sour when the kitchen manager “demanded” she start working on Sundays. For a while, she was able to have people cover the shift for her, but it wasn’t consistent. So, the next year, after nearly a decade of working at the Conrad, she was fired due to “unexcused absences, negligence and alleged misconduct.”
Fast forward to today. The jury, referencing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, decided that scheduling Pierre to work on Sundays infringed on her religious rights. Pierre also won an additional $35,000 in back wages plus $500,000 for “emotional pain and mental anguish,” according to NBC News.
Hilton says it has every intention of appealing the verdict. “We were very disappointed by the jury’s verdict, and don’t believe that it is supported by the facts of this case or the law,” a Hilton spokesperson told USA TODAY in a statement. “During Ms. Pierre’s ten years with the hotel, multiple concessions were made to accommodate her personal and religious commitments. We intend to appeal, and demonstrate that the Conrad Miami was and remains a welcoming place for all guests and employees.”
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