Miami Beach hotel to pay $2.5 million for alleging firing Haitians, replacing them with Hispanics

By Marian Johns | Aug 8, 2018

MIAMI — SLS Hotel, operated by SBE, has agreed to a $2.5 million settlement with the federal government to resolve allegations the company fired Haitian dishwashers and replaced the workers with mostly light-skinned Hispanics.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which filed a lawsuit against SLS, alleges Haitian workers at its South Beach hotel were called "slaves" and reprimanded for speaking Creole among themselves but allowed Hispanic workers to speak Spanish. The Haitians, who worked as dishwashers, complained and were then fired and replaced by a staffing agency with Hispanic workers, according to the EEOC.

"[The] EEOC will continue to protect workers in the hospitality industry, including the black Haitian community that makes up a significant part of the South Florida workforce," EEOC Miami District Office district director Michael Farrell said in a statement. 

According to the EEOC, SLS' practices violate Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. 

The settlement will be awarded to the 17 black Haitian dishwashers and includes SLS agreeing to provide training for human resources officials, management and other employees in all of the company's South Florida hotels. 

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