Biltmore staff protested in August on Coast Village Road | Credit: Daniel Dreifuss (file)

A Santa Barbara law firm announced Monday it is now representing 150 employees of Montecito’s Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore who are demanding severance pay as the luxury resort remains closed for an extensive renovation that corporate executives say could last through 2022.

The employees have stopped short of suing the company ― their contract prohibits class-action lawsuits ― but Anticouni & Associates said in a press statement the firm is pressing for mediation and, if unsuccessful, arbitration, for each person it represents. “We contend the furlough caused by the pandemic became a layoff when corporate Four Seasons decided to prevent employees from returning to work while it remodels the hotel,” the statement read.

Get the top stories in your inbox by signing up for our daily newsletter, Indy Today.

The Biltmore originally shut its doors in March amid the COVID pandemic and placed all 450 of its employees, some of whom have been with the hotel for decades, on furlough. But the temporary closure turned into an extended one when the hotel announced a few months later it was overhauling the property and would no longer pay employees’ health insurance.

The amount of severance allegedly owed is substantial. Per their contract, a person who has worked for the hotel for 10 years with an average hourly rate of $25 per hour is entitled to $16,000, the firm said. An employee who has worked for 20 years with an average annual salary of $75,000 would be entitled to $37,500.

Attempts to reach Four Seasons corporate representatives for comment have not been successful.

Every day, the staff of the Santa Barbara Independent works hard to sort out truth from rumor and keep you informed of what’s happening across the entire Santa Barbara community. Now there’s a way to directly enable these efforts. Support the Independent by making a direct contribution or with a subscription to Indy+.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.