Los Angeles Business Journal

LAX Hilton Settles Lawsuit with Workers

By Howard Fine Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Hilton Los Angeles Airport Hotel has agreed to pay its workers $2.5 million to settle a class action lawsuit over alleged failure to fully pay workers and give them adequate meal and rest breaks.

The settlement was announced Tuesday by Unite Here Local 11, which supported the lawsuit.

The suit was filed in 2008 by several hourly workers on behalf of 1,200 employees who worked at the hotel from 2004 through 2011. Unite Here Local 11 represents hospitality industry workers and has been attempting to unionize the Hilton workforce and other airport area hotels.

At the time, the Hilton Los Angeles Airport Hotel was suing the city of Los Angeles over the city’s living wage ordinance targeting 13 airport area hotels, a lawsuit that the hotel ultimately lost. The hotel also opposed Unite Here’s unionizing efforts. Since then, several other airport-area hotels have agreed to union representation for their workers.

In the lawsuit, the Hilton worker plaintiffs alleged hotel management withheld wages, required workers to fill out time sheets saying they took breaks and failed to pay employees for the time they spent putting on uniforms to prepare to work at the hotel.

“For years, we’ve felt like machines only here to make more and more money for the owners of Hilton LAX,” said Juan Banales, a hotel cook. “This settlement is a huge victory. We’ve won justice and respect.”

Grant Coonley, general manager for the Hilton Los Angeles Airport Hotel, could not be immediately reached for comment.

The Hilton Los Angeles Airport Hotel on Century Boulevard has 1,234 guest rooms, making it the second largest hotel in the county.