A former manager at a "swanky" New York City hotel has filed a lawsuit accusing hotel management of discriminating against her because of her pregnancy. She alleges that her superiors told her repeatedly that she, possibly because of her age and race, was not a good fit in the hotel's environment. She nevertheless worked eighty- to one-hundred-hour weeks, even well into her pregnancy. She was working when she went into labor, and ended up giving birth in a guest room at the hotel. After that, she alleges that management began eliminating her job duties, and then fired her on what she claims was a pretext.
Tara Tan claims that she helped build the Standard Hotel's business in the four years that she worked there. Despite putting in long hours, even while pregnant, she alleges that her superiors told her she did not "fit the culture" of the hotel, a prominent nightlife spot in Manhattan's Meatpacking District. Tan took this as a criticism of her Chinese heritage and her age, as compared to the young, mostly white, "model-like...beautiful people" she says the management preferred to have around. She had reportedly gained weight during an earlier difficult pregnancy, and endured harassment regarding her appearance before the pregnancy that immediately preceded her termination.
Tan was working a late shift on April 30, 2011 when she went into labor at around midnight. She claims that her superiors did not offer any assistance, allegedly because they did not want to disturb the hotel's party scene. She was sent into a guest room on the fifteenth floor and waited for her husband, who came two hours later from their home in New Jersey. Tan also alleges that when she called the front desk to ask for help, the person on the phone asked if she was joking. The child was born soon after her husband arrived, at around 2:30 a.m. Tan's husband assisted in the delivery, with Tan's doctor offering guidance over the phone. They called for an ambulance, and hotel staff made them leave through a side exit so they would not disrupt hotel guests.
Three days after the birth, Tan was working full time from home. In addition to not providing her with paid medical leave, the hotel docked her pay for the three days she missed. The general manager allegedly mocked her for remaining at the hotel while in labor. She claims that management began stripping her of job duties. After she removed several boxes of personal effects from her office, management accused her of stealing hotel property, which she denies, and fired her.
Tan filed suit against the Standard Hotel in Supreme Court in Manhattan, alleging that the hotel discriminated against her based on her gender, as well as possibly her age and race. The law generally views employment discrimination based on pregnancy as a form of gender discrimination. New York City's Human Rights Law prohibits these forms of discrimination by employers, much like New Jersey's Law Against Discrimination and Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. Tan is seeking $10 million in damages from the hotel.
If you need to speak to a pregnancy discrimination attorney in New Jersey or New York, contact the Resnick Law Group at 973-781-1204 or 646-867-7997.
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New Jersey Passes Law Against Gender Discrimination, The New Jersey Employment Law Firm Blog, November 2, 2012