Julius Jones says working at The Roger Smith Hotel in Midtown Manhattan is no picnic.
Jones, who is African American, said that he started working at the hotel in November 2008 and endured violent behavior and offensive language from some white colleagues and supervisors but did not quit because he feared he would not find another job in the current economic climate.
The lawsuit alleges that on October 28, 2010 Defendant Jeffrey Farley, kitchen manager at The Roger Smith Hotel at 501 Lexington Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, pulled a white pillow case from a towel bag and pulled it over his head and directed his attention towards Jones in the presence of defendants Daniel B. Mowles, Salvatore Maida and employee Justin Palmer and asked Jones: “Julius, how does that make you feel? Do you feel insulted?” as his white male colleagues mocked him and laughed, according to the lawsuit. Defendant Jeffrey Farley acted as if he was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
Sanders said his client was subjected to further racial discrimination when just weeks after he filed his complaint, Mowles, a manager, and Maida, a dishwasher, approached Jones in the kitchen and attempted to intimidate him into withdrawing the complaint. “You know, in my culture, the Italian Mafia gets rid of rats,” Maida told Jones according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also alleges Jones had been previously threatened with knives by Mowles, when he was playing with them near Jones’s throat.
The lawsuit alleges that on November 8, 2011, one day after being served with the original federal complaint, another employee Ramon Baez decided to further the racially offensive conduct against Jones.
The lawsuit alleges that Baez in front of his supervisor Lee Ramratteen donned a white cone shaped article on his head resembling the type of headgear worn by the Ku Klux Klan and ridiculed Jones saying “Hey, look at me I am the Ku Klux Klan.” Baez’s behavior was caught on the hotel’s surveillance system. Ramratteen did nothing to stop Baez’s behavior nor did he report Baez’s behavior.
Sanders said that hotel management routinely violated state and federal Civil Rights Laws by failing to take appropriate action to discipline offending employees or stop further retaliatory and discriminatory behavior from occurring in the workplace.