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PRESS RELEASE
7-13-15

EEOC Sues Hospman for Race Discrimination

Fort Myers Hotel Management Company Fired Black Employees Because of Their Race, Federal Agency Charges

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Hospman, LLC, a hospitality management services company that operates hotels in the Fort Myers area, violated federal law by firing a number of black employees of the Four Points by Sheraton Fort Myers Airport (formerly the Floridian Airport Inn), based on their race, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to EEOC's suit, Hospman fired several black employees in August 2012. EEOC charges that Jose Carvalho, Hospman's chief executive officer, ordered the housekeeping supervisor, Tinica Jones, to terminate all of the housekeepers - each are non-Hispanic and all but one of whom were black - because he did not work with "those people." Carvalho also asked Jones about her race and, upon learning that she was black, and not Hispanic, fired her as well. Risha Stewart, the only black front desk attendant, was also terminated, while other non-black front desk workers were allowed to continue their employment.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race. EEOC filed suit against Hospman, LLC (Case No. 2:15-cv-00419-JES-CM) in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Fort Myers Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The suit seeks back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief.

"Making employment decisions based on race violates federal civil rights laws, and the race of the perpetrator, victims or beneficiaries of the discrimination doesn't matter at all," said Georgia Marchbanks, director of EEOC's Tampa Field Office. "Such misconduct will not be tolerated by the Commission."

Robert Weisberg, regional attorney for the Miami District Office, added, "This suit is a reminder that race discrimination in the workplace persists. EEOC takes its duty to protect workers against such injustice very seriously and will zealously prosecute employers that deprive people of employment opportunities simply because of their race or national origin."

The Miami District Office's jurisdiction includes Florida, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.