Vancouver, B.C. — Several hotel housekeepers have filed a human rights complaint against the Pan Pacific Vancouver Hotel over sex and racial discrimination on behalf of women affected by mass firings. The complaint alleges that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the hotel’s mass terminations disparately impacted women of colour while men’s jobs were more likely to be protected.
Women were impacted by Pan Pacific Hotel’s actions, according to the complaint. The luxury downtown hotel located at Canada Place fired around 100 long-term workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the total number of women fired since June 2020, 94% are women of colour. Many of them worked in the housekeeping department.
Pan Pacific Vancouver hotel is owned by an affiliate of Westmont Hospitality Group. Westmont is one of the world’s largest privately held hospitality companies, with over 400 hotels worldwide. Westmont tapped the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program but fired workers anyway. Despite their vast wealth, they have taken over $42 million worth of publicly-funded Covid relief across North America. Westmont owns three other hotels in downtown Vancouver: the JW Marriott, the Douglas, and Fairmont Waterfront. The JW Marriott and Fairmont Waterfront also fired workers.
“It’s shocking how my hotel fired us — and worse that they fired mostly women of colour. We’ve worked there for decades to make the Pan Pacific successful. One time, an American guest even gave me a $100 US bill when he saw that I worked hard through the entire night. The hotel should be ashamed if the guests knew what the Pan Pacific is doing to us now,” said Jerty Gaa, a fired Pan Pacific public area attendant who served the hotel for 11 years.
The complaint filed on behalf of the women is seeking reinstatement of all group members to their jobs at the Pan Pacific, compensation for lost wages and injury to dignity, an order against the hotel to stop the discrimination and an admission of their discriminatory behaviour, and steps taken to address racism and sexism at the hotel.
A lawsuit was filed by a long-term Pan Pacific hotel worker in January this year over wrongful terminations, and a second one was filed by workers in April over breach of contract. UNITE HERE Local 40 represents workers at the Pan Pacific hotel.
UNITE HERE Local 40 is the hospitality workers’ union and represents members in the hotel, food service and airport industries throughout British Columbia. Learn more at UniteHereLocal40.org.