A judge's gavel. Photo via Pixabay.
A judge’s gavel. Photo via Pixabay.

A woman who worked at a Marriott hotel property in Arcadia is suing Marriott International Inc., alleging she was stripped of her managerial job in 2020 in retaliation for taking disability for a high-risk pregnancy and seeking accommodations upon her return after her child was stillborn.

Pamela Almodovar’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit allegations include wrongful termination, sex, pregnancy and disability discrimination and retaliation. She seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages in the suit filed Friday.

A Marriott International representative could not be immediately reached for comment.

Almodovar was hired in March 2016 as an assistant manager at SpringHill Suites and told management last June that she was pregnant, according to her court papers. Two months later, Almodovar’s doctor sent a letter to one of the hotel’s general managers stating that the pregnancy was high-risk and that she needed to start a disability leave, according to the suit.

Almodovar’s doctor allowed her to return to work with restrictions that included permitting her five-minute breaks every two hours and that she do no bending or stooping, which caused her severe lower abdominal pain, but hotel management “responded to (Almodovar’s) pregnancy restrictions with hostility,” the suit alleges.

Almodovar cooperated with management’s request that she work temporarily at the SpringHill Suites in Lake Forest to assist with a staff shortage there, increasing the plaintiff’s commute from nearly 10 miles to almost 50 miles, the suit states.

Almodovar’s doctor ordered her to stop working last Aug. 24 and her baby was delivered stillborn Sept. 14, according to her court papers.

Almodovar alleges the Arcadia hotel general manager told her to take as much time as she needed and that she could come back as late as November, saying, “Pam don’t worry about your place here, OK?” The manager also said, “You know I reserved this (spot) for you; I will wait for you,” and “I want to know if you are still coming back… if you are… I will not hire for SpringHill and wait for you,” the suit states.

In October, Almodovar says she submitted to hotel management a new physician’s note directing her to remain off of work until Dec. 21. Despite the order, hotel management “began applying a great deal of pressure on plaintiff for her to return to work,” telling her Nov. 20 they would fire her if she did not return and encouraging her to get her work restrictions reduced or eliminated, the suit alleges.

Almodovar says she told the hotel general manager that her doctor gave her permission to return to work Nov. 30 and that she still needed some accommodations, but never heard back about how those accommodations would be provided.

When Almodovar returned to work Nov. 30, the general manager told her the company had decided to end her employment instead of permitting her to return to work with restrictions, the suit states.

Almodovar believes she lost her job in retaliation for taking disability leave and because she requested medical accommodations, according to the suit, which states that no other hotel employees were laid off at that time.

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