Discrimination at the Doubletree?

Former Hotel Employee Alleges Racism, Wrongful Termination

Ronald Tobin, a former employee at Fess Parker DoubleTree Hilton, is suing the joint resort company and three of its supervisors for alleged discrimination and unfair business practices while he worked there as a painter for nearly three years. The suit claims Tobin was unjustly fired from his position after he was instructed to complete tasks typically subcontracted to outside vendors. The court filing also claims two of the hotel’s buildings had serious water damage and mold issues, but management failed to properly train employees or equip them with the right safety equipment, exposing Tobin to unsafe working conditions.

Tobin, who’s African-American, claims he was subjected to discrimination and harassment at the DoubleTree because of his race, and that the human resources department neglected to investigate or address his complaints. During an event at the hotel, the lawsuit reads, one of Tobin’s supervisors talked about the chicken and watermelon being served, and used the phrases “you people” and “your food.” “[The supervisor] continued to state that he does not know why African-Americans refer to themselves that way when white people do not say ‘Caucasian-Americans,’” the filing reads. The lawsuit also states another employee regularly used the “n-word” without being reprimanded.

When Tobin requested to leave work early so he could vote in the presidential election last year, the complaint states, his supervisor responded by stating, “You do not have the votes. Romney is going to win.” The next day, another supervisor allegedly told Tobin, “Obama may be your president out there, but I am your boss in here.” The head of human resources allegedly dismissed the remarks as jokes when Tobin brought up the issue. Beginning in 2012, Tobin received several “write-ups” about his work performance. The court filing states that Tobin never received copies of the write-ups after he requested them so he could respond to them.

Hilton Worldwide spokesperson David Trumble said he couldn’t comment on the lawsuit because of pending litigation. The company was served with the complaint last week, and it has 30 days to respond.

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