The Hilton Los Angeles Airport (LAX) Hotel has agreed to pay its workers $2.5 million in a settlement over unpaid wages that could pave the way for fair compensation agreements at other regional hotels. A class action lawsuit filed by 1200 hotel employees claimed that the hotel withheld wages, failed to pay overtime and refused to allow employees to take meal and rest breaks. Any employees who worked at the hotel between 2004 and 2011 are covered by the suit.
Specific allegations contained into the suit point to a working environment of intimidation and unfair treatment at the hotel. Among other things, employees claim that Hilton failed to pay employees for time spent changing into and out of uniforms which they were required to leave at the hotel's premises at the end of shifts. Hotel management also forced workers to fill out time sheets stating they had taken rest breaks, even when they had not been allowed the periods of respite. Juan Banales, a chef employed by the hotel for almost 20 years, said of his time spent there, "For years we've felt like machines, only here to make more and more money for the owners of the Hilton LAX. This settlement is a huge victory. We've won justice and respect."
Responding to the settlement, Tom Walsh, president of the UNITE HERE Local 11 hotel workers' union said, "Since this lawsuit was filed (in 2008), hundreds of workers at hotels near LAX have won union contracts that guarantee breaks and workers' rights to negotiate fair wages and benefits. Instead of choosing to respect workers, the Hilton LAX has taken the low road, fighting its own employees. I hope this expensive lawsuit teaches the Hilton LAX owners to respect the workers who make it successful."
The workers' settlement with the Hilton LAX hotel is just the latest in a series of victories for employee rights. At Arnold & Itkin, our attorneys take pride in representing workers who have been mistreated by their employers, whether they are barred from taking breaks, discriminated against based on age, race or sex or denied their right to overtime pay. If you have suffered unfair treatment by an employer, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our office today for a free and confidential consultation.