Hotel fired woman for her refusal to discriminate, suit says

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | Apr 8, 2013


HOUSTON - Harris County resident Elizabeth Benton alleges her refusal to discriminate against African Americans cost her her job with Metro Hospitality Management LLC and Metro Hospitality Partners Ltd., recent court papers say.

Benton launched the civil rights litigation against the defendants, doing business as Crowne Plaza Houston-Medical Center, in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas on March 27.

In her original petition, the plaintiff recalls interviewing black candidates for positions in the respondents' sales and marketing department and expressing her intent to hire them based on their qualifications.

She informed her direct supervisor, Jerry Mathers, only for the latter to reply that the hotel owner, Bob Yazdani, "is not going to go for that."

The suit further shows that Benton's superiors purportedly did not want to have large groups of African Americans to stay at the hotel as they and the plaintiff were at odds in the summer of 2010 over a predominantly black religious event.

It adds the hotel's controller reportedly called Benton a "n***** lover" when she talked to him about the revenue for said event.

After she reported the exchange, the suit says, the defendants fired her.

A jury trial is requested.

Attorney Kell A. Simon of Terry, Simon & Kelly PLLC in Austin is representing Benton.

Case No. 4:13-CV-868

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