Press Release 02-03-2021

Aimbridge Hospitality and AH 2007 Management to Pay $400,000 to Settle EEOC Pay Discrimination Lawsuit

Hotel Management Firms Paid Male Worker 38% More Than His Female Supervisor and At Least 60% More Than His Female Coworkers, Federal Agency Charged

NEW ORLEANS – The former operators of a Courtyard by Marriott hotel in Monroe, La., will pay $400,000 and provide extensive non-monetary relief to settle a pay discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

The former operators of the hotel — Aimbridge Hospitality, LLC and AH 2007 Management, LP (collect­ively, Aimbridge) — are based in Plano, Tex., and manage hotels nationally and internationally.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Aimbridge paid a male guest service representative $15.25 per hour while paying a female front desk supervisor and female guest service representatives $11 or less per hour. Aimbridge eventually began paying the female supervisor $16 per hour, but unlawfully re­duced the pay rate of the male representative rather than increasing the pay rates of the female repre­sentatives, as the law requires, the EEOC charged.

Such alleged conduct violates the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibit sex-based wage discrimination. The EEOC filed its suit (Civil Action No. 19-914) on July 16, 2019, in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Monroe Division, after attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The three-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit requires Aimbridge to provide back pay and other damages to the female front desk supervisor, the female guest service representatives, and the male guest service representative, whose pay rate Aimbridge reduced. The decree also requires Aimbridge to conduct periodic training on pay discrimination; maintain anti-discrimination policies and records; post anti-discrimination notices; provide periodic reports to the EEOC; and retain an economist to conduct periodic pay equity studies.

“Employers must prevent sex-based pay disparities,” said Rudy Sustaita, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Houston District Office. “And when such inequities do occur, employers need to correct them immediately by increasing the pay of the lower-paid employee.”

Andrew Kingsley, a trial attorney in the EEOC’s New Orleans Field Office, noted, “If there is a pay differential, an employer must have a good reason — and gender is never a good reason — for that difference.”

The lawsuit was brought by the EEOC’s New Orleans Field Office, a component of the EEOC’s Houston District Office. The EEOC’s Houston District Office has jurisdiction over Louisiana and part of Texas. Preventing pay discrimination is one of the priorities identified in the EEOC’s Strategic Enforce­ment Plan.

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