A restaurant in Trump’s DC hotel is being sued for racial discrimination by multiple people.
Two previous employees and one current employee, all black, have filed allegations against the Trump Organization and hotel managing director Mickael Damelincourt, saying that BLT Prime, a steakhouse in the hotel:
‘routinely steered black employees to less lucrative shifts and subjected them to discriminatory behavior by other staff and by guests.’
The Washington Post reports that black employees were often given the least-busy shifts:
‘Some days I would just stand there all day long and have no customers,’ [Hill] said. He routinely made $300 to $400 for a 30- to 35-hour workweek at BLT. He claims only four black employees still work at BLT after the hotel opened with 15 or more.
‘Smith, who works as a BLT server, said he was demoted to assistant server early on and rarely given prime shifts, where weekly earnings averaged $600 to $1,500 and which allegedly went instead to newly hired white and Latino employees.
‘They started hiring all these people and instead of putting them on day shifts they was giving them night shifts and keeping us on day shift. Next thing I know, within the month all the black people were on the day shift,’ he [Hill] said.
The Trump Organization claims to be “eager to litigate this matter,” pointing out that the employer of the complainants was not the organization itself, but a third party. A.J. Dhali. The attorney for the plaintiffs says that doesn’t matter because of the employment contract between the hotel and restaurant, as well as the personal role played by Mickael Damelincourt.
For its part, ESquared Hospitality, the company responsible for the restaurant, claims that those suing:
‘did not previously voice or file complaints through any of the proper channels.
‘Had they done so, BLT Prime would have immediately taken the alleged complaints seriously and investigated them to the fullest extent and would have taken appropriate action where warranted.’
That, however, doesn’t pass the smell test. According to the report by the Washington Post, at least one of the plaintiffs “…produced paperwork showing that in March he filed a discrimination charge with the D.C. Office of Human Rights and underwent mediation in July with attorneys for ESquared.”
It’s important to note that broad discrimination does not have to be proved for race-based discrimination against an individual or individuals to be found. According to the lawsuit, multiple instances of blatant racism from coworkers and customers garnered no response from management despite complaints. One particularly egregious example: A coworker saying, “This is white America time, you need to get used to it, and if you don’t get used to it you should go work somewhere else.”
This is not the first time a Trump-related business has been sued for racial discrimination. In 1973, Trump Management was sued by the Justice Department for racial housing discrimination. Trump and his KKK-loving father were both individually named in the lawsuit, which detailed multiple instances of race-based discrimination on the part of Trump Management during the 1960s and 1970s.
Featured image via Win McNamee/Getty Images