Thursday, April 29, 2010
Five-star hotels and resorts aim to cater to their guests’ every whim and desire. From specially-prepared menus and requested thread counts in bedding to demands for exotic flowers and expensive wines, there is nothing luxury hotels won’t do to keep their guests happy. So when a British couple requested being served only by white employees who looked and sounded American, The Ritz Carlton of Naples, Fla., allegedly obliged. The request, like all special demands made by guests of the hotel, reportedly was entered into the hotel’s computer system last month, stating that the guest and his family were not to be served by “people of color” or staff members with a “foreign accent.” Did the Ritz Carlton go too far by agreeing to such a demand?
According to Wadner Tranchant, a waiter at the hotel, they did. Tranchant has filed a discrimination suit against the hotel, claiming the hotel denied him of opportunities and income by not allowing him to serve the family. Tranchant also alleges that the Ritz Carlton created a hostile work environment and that working conditions were “abusive.” Of Haitian descent, Tranchant claims in his lawsuit that he “was humiliated, embarrassed, frightened, intimidated, subject to undeserved shame and suffered severe emotional distress” after being prevented from serving the couple when they came to dinner at the Ritz Carlton’s Grill Restaurant. Tranchant claims that the Ritz Carlton Naples has a long history of discrimination and is seeking $75,000 in damages.
The family, who spent roughly $8,000 during their stay at the Ritz Carlton Naples, won’t be returning any time soon. According to the Ritz Carlton, they have been banned from checking into any of the hotels facilities worldwide. The chain is currently reviewing the company’s anti-discrimination policies and taking the charges extremely seriously. Spokespeople for Ritz Carlton maintain that while granting their guests’ every wish is part of what makes the hotel unique, they would never condone discrimination from their guests or employees.
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