Employment Suit Filed Against Ex-Hotel Owner

OCEAN CITY – Federal employment authorities last week filed suit against the former owners of an Ocean City hotel for firing a manager who refused to comply with their illegal employee dismissal practices.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit in U.S. District Court last week against Spa Motel General Partnership, a motel group that formerly owned the Best Western Ocean City Hotel and Suites on 26th Street, for alleged discrimination in hiring and dismissal practices dating back to 2006.

The suit alleges the hotel’s general manager fired the housekeeping manager, Cheryl Gully, after Gully refused to terminate three Russian housekeepers on her staff when ordered to do so. The suit also alleges the hotel ownership group essentially black-balled Gully from gaining similar employment at other hotels and motels in the resort.

In June 2006, the hotel group fired Gully because she reportedly failed to follow a directive from the facility’s general manager that basically said the company did not want foreigners working in the hotel. Gully filed a complaint with the EEOC, which, after carefully reviewing the facts of the case, decided last week to file suit against the hotel’s former owners. In March of this year, the Spa Motel General Partnership was officially dissolved by court order in Montgomery County, but the company remains liable until the partnership’s affairs are completed, according to the EEOC suit.

“Because she engaged in protected activities, the defendant terminated Ms. Gully’s and interfered with her effort to obtain subsequent employment,” the complaint reads. “Since at least June 2006, the defendant engaged in unlawful employment practices at the Best Western Ocean City Hotel and Suites in violation of Title VII. The practices include terminating Ms. Gully’s employment because she opposed practices and conducts made unlawful by Title VII that were occurring at the Best Western.”

Title VII prohibits any employment decision, including recruitment, hiring, firing or layoffs based on national origin. According to the EEOC suit, the former hotel owners were reckless in their non-compliance with Title VII.

“The unlawful employment practices complained of above were done with malice or with reckless indifference to the federally protected rights of Cheryl Gully,” the complaint reads.

The EEOC suit seeks a variety of forms of relief from the court including an injunction enjoining the defendants from engaging in retaliation against former employees. The suit also seeks appropriate back pay and front pay for Gully in amounts to be determined at trial as well as punitive damages.

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