Hotel – owned by public employee pension-fund and managed by HEI Hospitality – allegedly fired hotel front-desk agent for union organizing
June 4, 2012
IRVINE – A federal agency charged with enforcing labor law has issued a complaint against the Embassy Suites Hotel in Irvine alleging the hotel violated the law when it fired a front desk agent this past year.
In its complaint against the hotel, which is owned by the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association and operated by a Connecticut-based hotelier, HEI Hospitality, the National Labor Relations Board’s Office of the General Counsel says management discriminated against Andrew Cohen, a multiple-year employee and known union supporter. The NLRB’s General Counsel alleges the hotel broke the law by firing Cohen and therefore discouraging employees from engaging in legally-protected activity such as handing out pro-worker fliers and picketing the hotel protesting bad working conditions.
Cohen was fired on July 29, 2011.
“At the Embassy Suites, we have the right to tell the public about our poor working conditions—low wages, heavy workloads and disrespect from managers,” Cohen said. “But one morning after doing so, I was a fired.”
As remedy for the allegations, the NLRB General Counsel requests full back pay for Cohen for work time missed. Cohen is seeking reinstatement to his former position in the hotel.
“I want my job back,” Cohen said. “We cannot be punished for standing up for our rights, and I’m happy to know the federal government has my back on this important issue.”
This event adds to the Embassy Suites’ growing record of exploitative labor practices at the hotels.
In 2011, a California State Labor Commission hearing officer found the Embassy Suites in Irvine guilty of denying rest breaks required under state law to eight workers and ordered the hotel pay them $41,000. HEI has now settled or been held liable for 32 wage and hour administrative complaints for a total of $99,999 at the Embassy Suites Irvine.