Three Black former food service workers are suing the owners of the West Hollywood Edition hotel, alleging they were disciplined differently compared to employees of other ethnicities, with two being fired in 2022 and the third forced to resign the same year because of the job conditions.
Servers Bianca Cody and Iris Walker and bartender Martel Devlin allege wrongful termination, racial discrimination and harassment, failure to prevent discrimination and retaliation and various state Labor Code violations in the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit filed against Edition Management LLC and Marriott International Inc. The trio seek unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
A hotel representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the suit brought Monday.
Cody was hired in October 2019, furloughed during the coronavirus pandemic and rehired in January 2022, the same month Walker and Devlin were hired, according to the suit. The three worked overnight shifts and say they never had time to take rest breaks guaranteed by law and add that there was only one other Black employee working there.
“Defendants foster a culture and practice at the West Hollywood Edition of employees not taking 10-minute rest periods,” the suit states.
Hotel management used discriminatory writeups and devised excuses to suspend or discipline the plaintiffs “while steadfastly refusing to apply the same policies to other non-black employees,” the suit alleges.
Devlin received a writeup last May accusing him of drinking on the job and employers tried to fire him, the suit states. Devlin complained to human resources that workers who were not Black were not written up for doing the same thing and his intended firing was rescinded, but he decided to quit “rather than continue to work in an environment in which he was discriminated against,” the suit states.
Last August, the Latina supervisor of Cody and Walker and human resources gave the pair writeups, also for allegedly drinking on the job, but did not do the same for five non-Black co-workers accused of doing the same thing, the suit states. Cody and Walker were later fired because of the drinking claims, according to the suit.
Cody had to wait 30 days after her firing to receive her final wages, a violation of state law, the suit states.
The three plaintiffs have experienced lost earnings and suffered mental pain, the suit states.