A family of British holidaymakers were accused yesterday of telling the management of a five-star Florida hotel that they did not want to be waited on by black staff.
Court papers say that the family, whose principal member was named as Rodney Morgan, left the instruction when they checked into the beachside Ritz-Carlton in the city of Naples on February 28.
The family, whose other members are not identified, allegedly informed the hotel of their preference not to be served by "people of colour" or staff with "foreign accents".
A note of their demand was allegedly made on behalf of Edward Staros, the hotel's vice-president and managing director. As per Mr Staros this couple is very, very prejudice and do like like [sic] ppl of color or foreign accents," was allegedly typed into the hotel's computer system.
A black waiter says in a lawsuit that he suffered discrimination. Wadner Tranchant, 40, a Haitian-born US citizen, who has been at the hotel for 15 years, says that on March 12, the hotel "instructed the serving staff regarding the stated prejudice of the Morgan family" when they made a reservation for banquette seating at the hotel's Grill Restaurant.
Mr Tranchant says he was not allowed to serve the Morgans because he was black.
"Plaintiff's normal duties entailed providing service to guests, including the serving of food, but as Plaintiff began to provide such services on March 12, 2010, he was prevented by his immediate supervisors from doing so, as to the Morgan family because they did not want to be waited on by a black person," the lawsuit says.
Other staff received similar treatment on many occasions, Mr Tranchant says.
Mike McDonnell, his lawyer, told the Naples Daily News that nine witnesses would testify that they had been told that the Morgans had not wanted to be served by blacks. "My client was prevented from waiting on this couple because he was black," he said.
The lawsuit seeks punitive and compensatory damages from the hotel for the alleged violation of the US Civil Rights Act.
"Plaintiff was humiliated, embarrassed, frightened, intimidated, subject to undeserved shame and suffered severe emotional stress, which is continuing and for which Plaintiff is seeking medical and psychological treatment," the suit says.
The 450-room hotel, which made the 2009 Condé Nast Traveller Gold List, boasts on its website of its "impeccable service". "The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, offers guests an unforgettable experience in one of the world's most beautiful destinations," its says.
Rooms start at $449 (£290) and go up to $4,999 for the presidential suite overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. The Grill is one of six restaurants on the hotel premises.
Among the hotel's forthcoming events is an appearance by Darren McGrady, a former senior chef at Buckingham Palace and chef to the late Diana, Princess of Wales, who will discuss royal life and the history of the English tea-time at a tea party on May 2.
Bruce Seagel, the hotel's director of marketing, said last night that the company did not discuss pending litigation.
However, he added: "The Ritz-Carlton has policies in place prohibiting discrimination and harassment and takes very seriously all allegations of discrimination and harassment." source
Apr 23, 2010
Posted By:Savvy Sista | At:9:24 AM
See this is exactly why I prefer the Four Seasons over the Ritz...LOL!!! But seriously, something like this doesn't even shock me. These hotel chains, just like most businesses, don't care about the character of the people that are using their facilities as long as their money is long. Money allows for people to be prejudice and get away with it in this country. The Ritz, in my opinion, should have never fulfilled such a request and should have turned the couple away, but they didn't because the people have money.
Am I the only one confused by the foreign accent thing? They are British so of course if they come to America everyone is going to have a foreign accent to them....SMDH! I mean seriously is this a joke.