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Workers settle employment lawsuit against local hotels

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Sixteen current and former Indianapolis hotel workers have settled their union-backed lawsuit that alleged employment violations by nine area hotels and Atlanta-based Hospitality Staffing Solutions, a subcontractor that employs many hotel workers.

The plaintiffs claimed they were forced to work off the clock and through breaks. Terms of the settlement are confidential.

The lawsuit, which came as Indianapolis hotels were preparing for an onslaught of Super Bowl visitors, initially targeted 10 area hotels, but the Holiday Inn Select Indianapolis Airport was dropped from the suit. When attorneys filed the suit in January, they said they hoped it could become a class action lawsuit and bring as much as $10 million in back pay to area hotel workers.

The settlement was reached before class-action status was addressed.

The allegations were made against the JW Marriott, Indianapolis Marriott Downtown, the Canterbury Hotel, the Conrad Indianapolis, Embassy Suites Downtown, Hyatt Regency Indianapolis, Hyatt Place Indianapolis Airport, the Omni Severin and the Westin Hotel.

Plaintiff Ava Sanchez said she is pleased with the outcome.

"I'm proud and excited because a small group of workers came together to raise our voices," the Greenwood resident said.

The lawsuit, led by the union Unite Here, prompted changes in industry practices that benefit those who still work in hotels, Sanchez said. Two of the 16 plaintiffs still work in hotels, but they no longer work through a staffing company, and they receive benefits like paid time off, said Sanchez, who works for the union as an organizer.

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  1. A Tilted Kilt at a water park themed hotel? Who planned that one? I guess the Dad's need something to do while the kids are on the water slides.

  2. Don't come down on the fair for offering drinks. This is a craft and certainly one that belongs in agriculture due to ingredients. And for those worrying about how much you can drink. I'm sure it's more to do with liability than anything else. They don't want people suing for being over served. If you want a buzz, do a little pre-drinking before you go.

  3. I don't drink but go into this "controlled area" so my friend can drink. They have their 3 drink limit and then I give my friend my 3 drink limit. How is the fair going to control this very likely situation????

  4. I feel the conditions of the alcohol sales are a bit heavy handed, but you need to realize this is the first year in quite some time that beer & wine will be sold at the fair. They're starting off slowly to get a gauge on how it will perform this year - I would assume if everything goes fine that they relax some of the limits in the next year or couple of years. That said, I think requiring the consumption of alcohol to only occur in the beer tent is a bit much. That is going to be an awkward situation for those with minors - "Honey, I'm getting a beer... Ok, sure go ahead... Alright see you in just a min- half an hour."

  5. This might be an effort on the part of the State Fair Board to manage the risk until they get a better feel for it. However, the blanket notion that alcohol should not be served at "family oriented" events is perhaps an oversimplification. and not too realistic. For 15 years, I was a volunteer at the Indianapolis Air Show, which was as family oriented an event as it gets. We sold beer donated by Monarch Beverage Company and served by licensed and trained employees of United Package Liquors who were unpaid volunteers. And where did that money go? To central Indiana children's charities, including Riley Hospital for Children! It's all about managing the risk.

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