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Sterling Employment Law

A former Detroit Foundation Hotel worker sues for discrimination

A human resources coordinator, who worked for the Detroit Foundation Hotel up until last year, has filed a discrimination lawsuit against her former employer. In her federal court filing, she outlines how the hotel's management referred to her other African-American colleagues using derogatory language. She also notes that they weren't given promotions because of their skin color.

The boutique hotel where the plaintiff worked is located in the space that formerly housed the Detroit Fire Headquarters. The iconic downtown building was restored by developers and re-opened to the public in 2017. A year later, it was named Time Magazine's World 100 Greatest Places of 2018.

As an employee in the hotel's human resources office, the plaintiff claims that she had a front row seat to the "rampant racism" that management engaged in.

She maintains that the hotel's management described its black employees as being too "dirty" and "not polished enough" as the reason for not inviting them to the hotel's one-year anniversary party. She also claims that they referenced these same workers as "too dark" when she asked why they weren't given promotions.

The plaintiff reportedly voiced her concerns about racism to management and even asked to use a studio within the hotel to record podcasts could improve the Foundation Hotel's reputation on race-related matters. She was reportedly given permission to do so but was later fired because she used it without prior authorization.

As for the hotel's management, they have released a statement since the former worker filed her lawsuit. In their response to it, they mentioned that they are an "equal opportunity employer" that aims to "create a dynamic environment" for guests and employees alike. They noted that they take such allegations of impropriety seriously and that they deny all of the allegations that have been waged against them.

Every employer in Michigan is prohibited from discriminating against prospective and current employees on racial, religious, gender, national origin, disability or other protected grounds. If you've been denied a job, promotion or treated differently from other workers for one of these reasons, then an attorney can advise you of your rights and legal remedies that you can pursue in your case.

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