MIAMI (Gray TV) – A hotel dishwasher was awarded $21.5 million after her employer failed to accept her religious beliefs and repeatedly scheduled her to work on Sundays, eventually firing her.
Marie Jean Pierre, 60, who worked for Miami-area Conrad Miami, sued Park Hotels & Resorts formerly Hilton hotel, for violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
A jury awarded Pierre the multi-million dollar settlement Tuesday, but she is unlikely to get the full amount, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
She could get around $500,000, her lawyer said. Punitive damages are capped in federal court.
"The jury was not aware of the cap,” said Pierre’s Miami-based lawyer, Marc Brumer. “They thought that they punished Hilton hotel with $21 million [in damages]."
Pierre is part of the Soldiers of Christ Church, a Catholic missionary group which helps the poor. Pierre said she told her employer she had to take Sundays off when she began working in 2006.
But in 2009, the hotel started scheduling her to come in to work. She told her boss she would have to leave the job and they accommodated her to have Sundays off in 2015.
Her schedule was again changed later that year, the Sun-Sentinel reported. She was eventually fired in 2016.
“You can’t discriminate when someone has a religious belief,” Brumer told the Sun Sentinel. “You have to accommodate them.”