Fired Miami hotel, dishwashers, called ‘slaves’ by regulators to win $2.5 million settlement

The lawsuit, filed April 2017, settled in at the end of July.


Seventeen Haitian people once dismissed as the dishwashers of a luxury hotel in Miami won $2.5 million in a lawsuit against their former employer.

The news was announced on 30 July via press release from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, who filed the discrimination suit on behalf of the former kitchen staff on the GROUNDS of the South Beach hotel. Although the indictment was filed in April 2017, the accusations stem from an April 2014 incident, the Miami Herald reports.

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According to the outlet, the dishwasher worked in the kitchen of The Bazaar by José Andrés, Katsuya and Hyde Beach, all the restaurants in the hotel, 1701 Collins Ave.

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The dishwashers, black and Haitian, claimed that the supervision of chefs prevented them from speaking Creole, while Hispanic employees were allowed to speak Spanish, the lawsuit states. The Herald also added that the Haitian workers were asked to place heavy objects on the 13 flights of stairs, while others were exempt from the task.

When the dishwasher asked the hotel managers how to repair a broken service elevator, a supervisor allegedly said, “Let the slaves do the work,” the Herald reports.

After the approach of human resources, the dishwashers were fired and immediately replaced by a new staff “almost entirely of white and/or Hispanic workers,” the lawsuit claims.

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Now, the EEOC won a serious settlement to the court of the SLS parent company SBE Entertainment Group, for the 17 terminated staff members. Ahead, six of SBE’s Miami-area hotels will be required to run anti-discrimination training for all chefs, sous-chefs, managers and hourly employees as part of the settlement, the Herald reports.


A legal representative for SBE said that the company denies the allegations but chose to settle.

“We felt if we could resolve this amicably and help take care of these ex-employees, that was the right thing to do,” James Greeley, chief legal officer for SBE, told the outlet. He added that SBE has more than 200 employees of Haitian descent currently employed at the Miami companies.

Meanwhile, the EEOC is celebrating the decision.

“EEOC will continue to protect workers in the hospitality industry, including the black Haitian community, which makes up a significant part of the South Florida workforce,” Michael Farrell, district director for the EEOC’s Miami District Office, said in the release.

Janine Puhak is an editor for Fox News Lifestyle. Follow her on Twitter via @JaninePuhak

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