Haitian dishwashers to get $2.5 million after banned from speaking Creole

Four years ago, the SLS South Beach Hotel in Miami was hit with a lawsuit by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for alleged discrimination against their Haitian workers. Seventeen Haitian dishwashers employed there were forbidden from speaking Haitian Creole. The Haitian workers were also asked to drag heavy items up the the 13th floor of the hotel by stairs. For the Hispanic workers, not only they were free to chat Spanish, they also did not have to carry any heavy items anywhere.


One time, a Haitian worker asked his manager to fix the broken service elevator in the hotel, the boss stated:

"Let those slaves do the work"

The dishwashers were fired after reporting the problem to human resources in April 2014. On 7/27/2018, the hotel agreed to pay $2.5 million to the 17 people who were fired.

The SLS South Beach is located at: 1701 Collins Avenue, in Miami Beach.

SLS South Beach hotel in Miami has agreed to settle a discrimination suit with 17 Haitian dishwashers in a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of the employees. As per the employees' claim, they were mistreated, called "slaves" and eventually fired for their cultural background.

As part of the settlement, the hotel has been directed to run mandatory anti-discrimination training for all chefs, managers and employees working at the hotel's restaurants.

The allegations initially surfaced in 2014, when as per the lodged complaint, employees claimed to have been mistreated, called "slaves" and eventually fired for their cultural background.

The Haitian employees employed in the restaurants including 'The Bazaar' by Jose Andrés, Katsuya, and Hyde Beach, were banned from speaking Creole, while their Hispanic colleagues were allowed free to chat in Spanish. They were also asked to perform other strenuous jobs barring others, like lifting heavy items up the hotel's 13 flights.

When one of the dishwashers asked the management to repair the broken service elevator, a boss replied "let those slaves do the work."When they reported the case of discrimination to the hotel's human resources department following the incident in 2014, the entire dishwashing staff was replaced with a staff made up of almost entirely of white and/or Hispanic workers.

However, as per James Greeley, Chief Legal Officer for SBE Entertainment, "In settling this, it was not to be construed as an admission that the allegations were true, We didn't want to continue a nasty battle with employees that we cared about." He further added that their Miami based company employs more than 200 Haitian employees at its properties. As per Greeley, the decision to outsource the dishwashing department had a "perfectly legitimate business motive" and not all the workers in the department were of Haitian descent.

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