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Hilton Hotel agrees to pay workers $2.5 million to settle suit

The Hilton Hotel near Los Angeles International Airport has agreed to pay its workers $2.5 million to settle a  lawsuit alleging that the hotel withheld wages, did not pay overtime and failed to provide meal and rest breaks to about 1,200 workers, union officials said Tuesday.

The suit, filed in 2008, covers all hourly employees who worked at the hotel at 5711 W. Century Blvd. from 2004 to 2011. With more than 1,230 guest rooms, the Hilton Los Angeles Airport is one of the largest hotels in Los Angeles.

“For years, we’ve felt like machines, only here to make more and more money for the owners of the Hilton LAX,” said Juan Banales, a cook at the hotel for almost 20 years. “This settlement is a huge victory. We’ve won justice and respect.”

Banales said he would receive about $3,800 from the lawsuit.

The case included allegations claiming that the hotel failed to pay employees for the time spent preparing for work and putting on and taking off uniforms that were required to be left at the hotel. Workers also alleged that they were required to fill out time sheets saying they took breaks whether they did or not.

"Since this lawsuit was filed, hundreds of workers at hotels near LAX have won union contracts that guarantee breaks and workers' right to negotiate fair wages and benefits," said Tom Walsh, president of UNITE HERE Local 11, the union representing 20,000 hospitality workers in Southern California.

"I hope this expensive lawsuit teaches the Hilton LAX owners to respect the workers who make it successful," he added.

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-- Dan Weikel

 
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