Abuse of power in the workplace is against the law! Making conditions of employment dependent on sexual favors is not only unethical and unwelcome; it creates an intimidating, offensive and hostile working environment. As more women enter the workforce, their vulnerability to harassment is also increasing. After decades of abuse, women are beginning to tell their stories and expose the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in their workplace surroundings. Long Beach Post, Keeley Smith exposes the taxing environment employees have been enduring for years.
Two female employees at the Renaissance Hotel in Long Beach filed suit against the hotel and a banquet captain, David Flores, for sexual harassment and failure to prevent and remedy harassment, the prosecuting law firm Alexander Krakow + Glick LLP announced today.
Firm principal and attorney J. Bernard Alexander III said the intent of the lawsuit was to hold the Renaissance accountable.
“We intend to prove that for years, these female workers at the Long Beach Renaissance Hotel, who are primarily Latina and Spanish speaking, have been subjected to clear violations of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act,” he said. “Despite its receipt of numerous complaints, the hotel has taken no genuine interest in ensuring a safe workplace environment for its female employees. The male-dominant behavior that these women have been forced to endure as a condition of earning an honest living is vulgar and disgusting.”
Management at the Renaissance did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.
In the lawsuit, the employees allege instances of both sexual harassment and assault, including accusations involving Flores reaching for and touching the vaginal area of Cuevas, hugging and attempting to kiss her, spanking her, and saying sexually suggestive and profane remarks to her. Some of the remarks allegedly included “Don’t you want to do it [have sex]?” “Why don’t we go somewhere?” and “If you let me have you, I’ll give you more days.”
“My fellow employees and I have been forced to endure graphic sexual comments, inappropriate touching and sexual advances by coworkers and supervisors for years,” said Cuevas in a statement. “We’ve complained many times to human resources and management, yet nothing’s been done. We’re tired of being treated like this and receiving no help. As women trying to make a living, this conduct takes an enormous physical and emotional toll on us. We tried to overcome our fears, in choosing to file this lawsuit to protect ourselves.”
Alexander said the woman came forward with their accusations after the wage theft lawsuit was filed. One of the issues he emphasized in the case was the control the alleged harassers had over the employees’ schedules.
“It’s an awful environment to work in,” he said.
Hotel workers filed a suit regarding wage theft against the Westin in Long Beach last summer. The lawsuit was filed after numerous demostrations by hotel employees in front of both hotels, outside of City Hall and at the People’s State of the City.