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Fired Haitian Dishwashers At A South Beach Hotel To Get $2.5M After Discrimination Suit

Tim Chapman - MIAMI HERALD
The SLS South Beach, located at 1701 Collins Avenue, in Miami Beach photographed in October 2012. The hotel was sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for alleged discriminatory practices against black Haitian workers.

Four years ago, something bitter was brewing in the kitchens of the ritzy SLS South Beach hotel.

Seventeen of the Haitian dishwashers employed at the hotel’s restaurants, which included The Bazaar by Jose Andrés, Katsuya, and Hyde Beach, were banned from speaking Creole, while Hispanic colleagues were free to chat in Spanish, according to a discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The Haitian workers were also asked to lug heavy items up the hotel’s 13 floors by stairs while other workers were spared.

When the Haitian workers asked managers to fix the hotel’s broken service elevator, one boss stated, “Let those slaves do the work.” The dishwashers reported the alleged abuse to human resources in April 2014. The entire dishwashing staff was then fired and replaced the same day with a staff “made up of almost entirely of white and/or Hispanic workers,” according to the lawsuit.

Read more from our news partner, The Miami Herald.