A Haitian-born food server at The Ritz-Carlton’s beach resort in Naples was told March 12 his services wouldn’t be needed that day.
It wasn’t because Wadner Tranchant was under-performing; it was because he is black and speaks with an accent, according to a federal lawsuit filed this week.
Tranchant, who also is a restaurant captain, is seeking more than $75,000 in damages from the hotel chain and the hotel’s vice president and managing director. He alleges a British family requested they not be served by people of color or with foreign accents. His supervisors complied, the lawsuit alleges.
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The Rodney Morgan family checked into the hotel Feb. 28, and a note in the hotel’s computers, directed by Vice President and Director Edward Staros, said, “as per Mr. Staros, this couple is very very prejudice.’’ The note went on to say the family didn’t want to be served by anyone of color or with a foreign accent, according to the lawsuit.
On March 12, Tranchant, a U.S. citizen who has worked for the hotel for 15 years, was prevented by his immediate supervisors from serving the Morgans at The Grill restaurant, said his attorney, Michael McDonnell of Naples.
“There’s just no room for it in America,” McDonnell said. “I can’t imagine what it’s like.”
Ritz Carlton spokeswoman Vivian Deuschl wouldn’t comment on the lawsuit, saying the company doesn’t discuss pending litigation.