Hotel giant Marriott has been in the news a lot lately but not for anything good. While the hotel chain is still dealing with a massive security breach—perhaps the biggest breach of its kind in modern American history—it’s also dealing with a highly publicized employment discrimination/whistleblower retaliation allegation.
In addition to the class-action suit claiming Marriott didn’t do enough to protect guests from a data breach that exposed more than 300 million guests’ personal information (names, credit card information, and passport numbers), now the corporation is being accused of wrongful termination of a woman due to her pregnancy and the fact that she was a whistleblower against Marriott regarding some alleged shady human resources, payroll, and leave issues.
Pregnant Whistleblower Wrongfully Terminated?
A former Marriott employee, Laura Bone, has filed a federal lawsuit against the hotel giant alleging she was fired because she was pregnant and because she reported questionable practices in human resources.
Bone is seeking unspecified damages against Marriott International Inc., where she began working in 2014 in HR but was eventually promoted to the position of Payroll Supervisor at the Marriott Regional Reservations office in Omaha, Nebraska. Bone told her employer in May 2016 that she was going to have a baby in September, and her family leave was approved.
According to the lawsuit, Bone and a co-worker reported to Marriott management they believed Marriott’s policies broke the law when it came to employee verification forms and family leave paperwork. The specific issue they reported was that employees in the human resources department were filling out leave verification forms instead of the employees, themselves, and those HR employees were changing the dates of the requested family leave.
Bone also told Marriott that it was breaking the law because it didn’t pay terminated employees their last paychecks on time. Marriott fired the co-worker of Laura Bone in 2016, alleging theft of company property, and then fired Bone for citing ethical violations on paperwork she had done on behalf of the co-worker. Bone was not allowed to appeal her termination, and she immediately lost her insurance benefits.
Bone’s lawsuit claims the termination was due to Bone raising concerns about company practices and because of the fact she would soon be going on leave for her pregnancy. The lawsuit also alleges that three male Marriott employees who committed violations were treated much more favorably than Bone. Prior to the current lawsuit against Marriott International, Inc., Bone filed a complaint with the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission, which ruled in favor of the hotel chain.