After 10 years of working at a luxury hotel as a dishwasher, this elderly woman never complained once about her job. However, once a jury was told what her employer forced her to do each week, they felt she was owed a massive settlement of $21 million.
For over a decade, Marie Jean Pierre worked as a dishwasher at the Conrad Miami Hotel, which was later bought by Hilton. A 60-year-old Haitian woman, she was dedicated to her work and had strong religious convictions – making sure never to miss church on Sunday. Unfortunately, when the hotel hired a new manager, this led to her being fired for refusing to work on Sundays.
However, with the help of an attorney and legal action taken against Hilton Hotel for religious discrimination, the jury awarded her $21 million in damages plus back wages and emotional pain and mental anguish compensation.
In America – more so than any other country – individual rights are respected and protected as long as they do not infringe upon another’s rights; otherwise abusers face prosecution. For seven years Pierre managed her job without any special privileges while still keeping up with her Christian values by attending church every Sunday morning.
To make sure she could keep going to church without missing work shifts she would trade shifts each week with her co-workers – something that worked fine until the new manager took over who didn’t understand or respect why she refused to work on Sundays due to her faith.
This resulted in Pierre being fired from her job despite having abided by all expectations while covering shifts for 7 years.
After filing a lawsuit against Hilton Hotel for religious discrimination under US law, the court case ended in Marie receiving $21 million in damages as well as an additional $35,000 in back wages and $500,000 for emotional pain and mental anguish caused by being forced into working Sundays despite it violating her religion’s commandments.
Despite the ruling however Hilton denied discriminating against Pierre in any way claiming that they followed federal laws while managing employees’ religious practices respectfully. Regardless of whether or not this settlement amount was appropriate or not this case highlights how important it is that employers honor employee’s right within US law or face prosecution accordingly.
Despite receiving such a large sum money however it has been reported that Marie will donate whatever money she receives from her settlement towards helping orphans in Haiti.