Seventeen employees from Haiti have been awarded $2.5 million dollars The suit that was settled by SBE Entertainment Group was brought against the company by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The commission says that chefs and other supervisors at the plush SLS South Beach Hotel discriminated against the employees by requiring them to carry heavy loads up 13 flights of stairs while other employees were allowed to use an elevator. The suit also alleged that the employees were forbidden to speak Creole despite the fact that others were given permission to speak their native language. The employees who say they were often called slaves finally went to the company’s human resource department to complain where they were promptly fired.
While the SBE Entertainment Group does not admit any wrongdoing, they say that they decided to settle out of court because it was the best thing for everyone involved. The company says that they have over 200 employees of Haitian descent currently working for their organization. The company was also ordered that all supervisors must take mandatory anti-discriminatory training whether they worked at the SLS South Beach Hotel or at one of the company’s other hotels that include the Townhouse Hotel in Miami Beach and The Redbury in South Beach and New York City.
On June 30, 2018, AccorHotels invested $319 million to get 50 percent ownership of the hotel chain. Previous to the partial acquisition, Sam Nazarian owned 50 percent of the company along with Cain International and Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Companies. Nazarian will continue to operate the firm from his New York City headquarters.
In addition to hotels, SBE Entertainment Group also operates several popular restaurants including Katsuya with locations across the United States, in Kuwait and in the United Arab Emirates. The company also owns Umami Burger with locations in the United States and Japan along with Cleo Restaurants with locations in the United States.