EEOC Charges Hotel Chain Discriminated Against Arabic Manager

August 17, 2004 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Federal officials have charged that the Omni Hotels Corp. illegally fired a Dallas-area hotel manager because he was Arabic and Muslim and for opposing HR practices like moving Hispanic workers out of public view.

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) made the charges in a lawsuit filed in US District Court in Dallas on behalf of Mohamed Elmougy, who managed the chain’s Omni Mandalay Hotel in Irving for about 18 months, the Associated Press reported.

The agency said the company began discriminating against Elmougy in early 2001 and retaliated against him after he objected to orders to move Hispanic restaurant waiters in less-public jobs.

However Joy Rothschild, the chain’s senior vice president of human resources said Elmougy wasn’t fired but instead quit in late 2001 after declining a transfer to become general manager of the larger Omni Shoreham in Washington DC, according to the AP report. She said Elmougy was offered a transfer because “we needed a change in leadership at the Omni Mandalay Hotel,” but she declined to be more specific.

The EEOC asked the court to award Elmougy back pay and lost income — estimated at $400,000 — plus compensation for humiliation and punitive damages.

The Irving-based chain denied discriminating against Elmougy or Hispanics in the hotel restaurant. “We haven’t done anything wrong and we will vigorously defend against this action,” said Rothschild.

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