PHOTO: The complaint was filed earlier this month in the Superior Court of New Jersey. (Photo via Flickr/Karen Neoh)
New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino has taken aim at a Homewood Suites by Hilton property amid allegations of unlawful discrimination.
According to the New Jersey Law Journal, a complaint filed by Porrino Feb. 10 alleges that former Homewood Suites by Hilton employee Rosa Lopez was paid less than multiple male co-workers, including her son, for doing the same job.
The suit, which came about after Lopez filed a complaint with the Division on Civil Rights (DCR), claims she was fired after addressing the pay disparity with her supervisor and the hotel's general manager.
Lopez was hired at the Homewood by Suites hotel in Edgewater, New Jersey, just outside of New York City in August 2011, where she was paid a starting wage of $8 per hour to work as a houseperson, according to the suit. While she received annual salary increases of $0.20 and $0.16 per hour in 2012 and 2013, respectively, six males hired after her to work the same position allegedly received starting hourly wages of $9 or $10 per hour.
After confronting the hotel's owner, Minesh Patel, about the discrepancy in September 2014, Lopez was terminated by the general manager.
Porrino called the allegations "troubling."
"Employers have a duty under the law to treat male and female workers equally, and that most assuredly includes hourly wages," he added. "Here in the 21st Century, the notion of any employer–let alone one that is part of a national hotel chain–paying women less than men for the identical work is appalling, and cannot be allowed to stand."
In addition to seeking remedial relief like back pay and lost benefits for Lopez, the state wants Homewood Suites to avoid engaging in discriminatory or retaliatory policies and practices against employees and submit to training and monitoring by the DCR for up to three years.