August 16, 2022

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The Passionate of Travel

Housekeepers sexually harassed at WA hotel, suit says

Two women will be paid $370,000 in a settlement after they were sexually harassed by a worker at a hotel they worked at in Kent, Washington, according to the EEOC.

Two women will be paid $370,000 in a settlement after they were sexually harassed by a worker at a hotel they worked at in Kent, Washington, according to the EEOC.

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Two housekeepers were sexually harassed by their manager at a hotel in Washington, federal officials said.

Then another manager retaliated against one of the women after she reported the sexual harassment and assault, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said in a Wednesday, June 29, news release.

Canada-based hotel owners GIPHX10, LLC, and Jaffer, Inc. now have to pay the women $370,000 after settling a lawsuit with the EEOC.

An attorney for the companies said he did not have a comment or “more for public consumption on the case.”

The two women were working at Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham near the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Kent, officials said.

Both women, who had been hired in 2018, said the maintenance and housekeeping manager groped them while they were cleaning rooms alone, then mocked them when they protested being assaulted and made sexually explicit comments.

The housekeeping manager also threatened to rape one of the women, officials said. Fearing for her safety, the woman quit her job.

When the other woman made a report to the hotel’s general manager, her hours were cut and she did not get a pay raise that other workers received, the release states.

The employment agency said the hotel’s owners didn’t do a thorough investigation of her report. Instead, they “accepted the manager’s denial of the allegation.”

The federal agency said the company violated the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In addition to the $370,000, the companies also have to hire an independent consultant “to help them develop policies and procedures to recognize, prevent and correct sexual harassment and retaliation, including an internal complaint system.”

Both companies agreed to enforcing a company-wide training for managers and owners to “to ensure accountability with regard to anti-discrimination practices.”

“While these two hotel owners are based in Canada, any company doing business in the United States must comply with our federal EEO laws. We hope this settlement sends a clear message that defending vulnerable workers and preventing and remedying harassment in the workplace remain top priorities for the Commission,” EEOC senior trial attorney Carmen Flores said in the release.

Helena Wegner is a McClatchy National Real-Time Reporter covering the state of Washington and the western region. She’s a journalism graduate from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She’s based in Phoenix.