A baker at the Westin Hotel in Times Square, New York won $3 million US dollars this week after the hotel was found guilty of spying on him with a hidden camera. Three million dollars!! Good Lord – you can maim someone for life in New Zealand and only stump up with a few thousand!
46-year-old Moises Mendez had repeatedly filed complaints with the hotel’s HR Department over alleged discrimination being committed against him at the hotel apparently because he was from Ecuador. Clearly they thought he was rather a pest so they installed a hidden camera near his workstation in the kitchen shortly after he filed written complaints of unlawful discrimination. (Did their lawyer not argue that the camera was put there to check out his supposed harrassment?!)
Anyhoo, last week, after nearly a month’s trial, a jury in Manhattan Federal Court found Starwood guilty of unlawful retaliation and awarded Mendez $1 million for emotional distress, pain and suffering, and $2 million in punitive damages to punish Starwood for its unlawful actions. I can only imagine his swagger when he went to work the next morning $3 million richer and starting sifting his flour.
I stayed at the Westin a few years ago just after they’d opened the very fancy Renewal Suite with its own fitness gear, a bathtub overlooking the city and fancy smellies. Unfortunately I didn’t get to stay in this room – but it was impressive!