Hilton at LAX involved in civil suit

by Emily DUNBAR on June 18, 2010

According to a lawsuit filed Wednesday, a Hilton at the Los Angeles International Airport allegedly hired dozens of workers using a subcontractor operating an illegal scheme that circumvents city mandates requiring all workers receive a ‘living wage’.

The civil suit, being filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, has been compiled on behalf of the 150 staff members alleged to have not received legal wages. The suit seeks repayment to those former and current employers involved, and asks for a court-mandated injunction that will force Hilton to comply with the ‘living wage’ laws in the future.

According to the suit, Hilton allegedly used a dual and unequal payment method that saw housekeepers and other staff that had been contracted outside receive less pay than workers that the hotelier had directly hired itself. Marc Coleman, who represents the workers, said the scheme was set up intentionally to get around living wage ordinances.

A spokesperson for Hilton LAX said she did not know of the complaint and denied to comment. The 1,234-room property is one of the largest in Los Angeles. Under the 2007 ordinance requiring hospitality companies operating in the LAX Corridor to pay a living wage, Hilton must pay at least $11.55 per hour, or $10.30 per hour but with health benefits included. The laws were pushed for by powerful unions, who would like to see the ‘living wage’ requirements implemented across the country.

Labour unions are not directly involved in this particular civil suit, said Local 11 spokeswoman Leigh Shelton, but the Local 11 union has been boycotting the same Hilton property as part of a bid to unionize the accommodation.

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