A black family has filed a lawsuit against Hilton and Hampton Inn franchisee in North Carolina over alleged discrimination on Thursday. The family maintains that a white clerk called Police on them over a billing error made by the inn.
The family had stayed in the hotel on the night of November 23, 2018. Delores Corbett, a businesswoman from Eastampton, New Jersey, stayed there with her husband and two teenage daughters.
They had stayed there for the night, and the next morning the clerk started humiliating her and called the Police.
Corbett says that the clerk’s decision to call the Police put her family in imminent danger, in addition to humiliating and degrading her.
The lawsuit against Hilton
The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court on behalf of Corbett, her husband and two daughters.
The suit says that after spending the night at the hotel, the next morning the clerk loudly told Corbett that her credit card had been declined.
Corbett had tried to explain that the room was prepaid with points from her Hilton Honors account, but the clerk refused to listen.
When Corbett asked to talk to a supervisor, the clerk yelled at her to “get off my property” and then called the Police.
Police circled their vehicle.
Corbett said that she felt compelled to check out of the hotel in fear that the clerk may misrepresent the incident to the Police and they may overreact.
Corbett and her daughters quickly packed their belongings while her husband and son waited outside in their van.
The suit says that when the Police came, Corbett explained her situation to them. The clerk had acknowledged that the family had paid for their stay.
In spite of this, the Police escorted their vehicle from the hotel. They also circled their van in a restaurant while they waited for their party. Corbett and her family had been travelling to North Carolina for a family celebration.
Hilton and Hilton franchise hotels
As a proof, Corbett’s attorneys have revealed an email that they had received from the hotel’s general manager Phil Ronaghan.
Ronaghan offered his “sincerest apologies” in the mail and called the clerk’s behaviour “unprofessional and unwarranted”.
Patco Lodging, the hotel’s franchised owner, released an email statement. It says that the suit is without merit and that it does not tolerate racism and discrimination.
The statement also says that they handled the incident “properly and in accordance with Hilton’s sensitivity programming.”
CEO of Washington Hospitality and the owner of the Hampton Inn, Vimal Kolappa posted an apology on social media:
“Up until today, our normal process has been to involve law-enforcement when unable to confirm if an individual is a guest of the hotel. We now understand this may have unnecessarily escalated this situation.”