LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Yesterday, Edith Gutu, a public areas attendant at the Freehand Los Angeles hotel, spoke about a lawsuit she filed against the Freehand alleging that she has been subjected to a hostile work environment.
Gutu alleges in the lawsuit that she has been made to clean men’s restrooms next to the rooftop bar and lobby bar without any means of preventing men from coming into the restrooms and urinating. As a result, she alleges, she has been exposed to men’s genitals while at work.
Describing the allegations in her lawsuit, Gutu stated: “I have repeatedly asked my managers for a sign to indicate that the restrooms are closed for cleaning or another way to close the restroom while I am working. But my management has failed to provide me with these protections.”
Gutu was joined at a press conference in front of the hotel by community allies, faith community leaders, and worker leaders.
Juana Melara, a housekeeper at the Westin Long Beach Hotel and 2017 TIME Magazine Person of the Year, stated: “I am here today to stand in solidarity, as my fellow housekeeper Edith Gutu comes forward and says #MeToo. No working women, ever, should have to work under conditions that are beneath her human dignity. As women, we deserve to work in a safe and respectful environment.”
The Freehand Hotel is unique among Los Angeles-area hotels in that it offers not only traditional high-end rooms and suites but also hostel-style co-ed accommodations. According to the complaint, the hotel features several bars, including a rooftop bar which on weekends takes on a “raucous ‘party’ atmosphere.”
Noting that she has been inspired by other women in the hospitality sector who have spoken out against sexual harassment, Gutu stated: “I should not have to work in circumstances like this. Today, I have decided to break my own silence. I am doing this not only for myself, but so that all women who work in our industry can work with the dignity and respect we deserve.”
UNITE HERE Local 11 is a labor union that represents over 31,000 hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona. Our members work in hotels, restaurants, universities, convention centers, and airports.