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Press Release 01-27-2017

Hospman Settles EEOC Race Discrimination Lawsuit

Hotel Management Company Fired Black Employees Because of Their Race, Federal Agency Charged

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Hospman LLC will pay $35,000 and furnish other relief to settle a race discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

According to the EEOC's suit, Hospman fired several black employees in August 2012 after taking over management responsibility of a Fort Myers hotel. The EEOC charged that Jose Carvalho, Hospman's former chief executive officer, ordered the housekeeping supervisor, Tinica Jones, to terminate all of the housekeepers - all but one of whom were black - because he did not work with "those kind of people." Carvalho also asked Jones about her race and, upon learning that she was black, 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.

Race discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The 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.

Under the consent decree resolving the EEOC's claims, Hospman will pay $35,000 to be distributed among the five discrimination victims. Hospman will also revise policies regarding race discrimination complaints as set forth in its employee handbook; conduct annual training of its managers and supervisors on the requirements of Title VII; post a notice about the lawsuit for its employees; and report to the EEOC regarding complaints of race discrimination and the company's employment practices.

"The hospitality industry is an important sector of Florida's economy and EEOC hopes this suit will serve as a reminder to all employers in the sector of the importance of their obligations under the federal antidiscrimination laws," said EEOC Regional Attorney Robert Weisberg. "The law is clear - employers cannot discriminate on the basis of race in the hiring or firing of employees."

The EEOC's Tampa Field Director Evangeline Hawthorne added, "Whether a housekeeper or executive, employees should not be subjected to discrimination in the workplace based on their race. The EEOC will continue to vigorously enforce discrimination laws."

The Miami District Office's jurisdiction includes Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.