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Omni Barton Creek Resort and Spa Hit with Lawsuit Alleging Pregnancy Discrimination

— October 3, 2019

A pregnancy discrimination lawsuit was recently filed against Omni Hotels Management Corporation after a former employee alleged she was let go due to her pregnancy.

Omni Hotels Management Corporation came under fire earlier this week after a former employee claimed she was let go due to her pregnancy. The lawsuit was filed in the Western District of Texas by Julia Teague. In it, she alleges she was laid off from her job at Omni Barton Creek Resort and Spa when she told her job she was expecting a child. Prior to being let go, she had worked for the resort for six years.

An Omni Hotel in San Diego, CA
An Omni Hotel in San Diego, CA; image courtesy of Aqueous07 via English Wikipedia,

When commenting on the lawsuit in a recent interview, Teague said:

I think it’s important for me to share my story because I have two daughters and I want to look at them and I want to look at them and know that I did everything I could to fight for women’s rights, and I want them to know that I did my part to ensure they’re never going to have to deal with this.”

What happened, though? Why did Omni Barton Creek let her go if she had always been a good employee before her pregnancy? Well, according to the suit it all started in 2017 when Teague found out she was pregnant. At the time, she was working as Omni Barton Creek’s marketing director and was over the moon at the news of her pregnancy.

Shortly after learning she was pregnant, Teague also found out that Omni Barton Creek was gearing up for a $150 million renovation. She was assured that the resort would remain open and that “she and the other executive staff would keep their jobs.” During her employment, her suit claims she had nothing but positive performance reviews and even won “an award for her work as Director of Marketing in 2014.”

Then, it all went south. According to Teague, one week before the due date, “the managing director called me into his office, and there was an HR person in there, and he said, ‘We’ve decided we are going to close the resort for about a year and your position’s being eliminated.’” On top of that, they told her that her “last day of employment would be her first day back from maternity leave.”

Other employees, however, were allowed to keep their jobs. The suit alleges her “male colleagues with executive positions were offered transfers to other Omni hotels.” She said:

I went back to my office and my supervisor said, ‘Well now you’ll have more time with your baby.’ And I just thought to myself, ‘How insulting.’ It seemed to me like they were making the decision that my place as a new mother was to be at home with my child versus focused on my career.”

Instead of being able to relax and enjoy time with her newborn daughter in the months following her birth, she worried about her family’s finances and where her career would go next. She said, “it turned what should have been the best time of my life into one of the most stressful, trying times of my life.”

To make matters worse, about four weeks after the job was eliminated she learned from her former manager that the company was posting her job again. Though she applied, she was “told she wasn’t qualified and that the role’s expectations had changed,” even though the “description in the job posting was nearly identical to the description of her prior job she was asked to write while still employed.” She added, “I looked at what they posted versus what I had submitted, and it was word-for-word almost exactly the same, and they had just added, I think, three new bullets related to the country club.”

Shortly after being rejected, Teague reached out to Austin Kaplan, a civil rights attorney based in Austin, Texas. When commenting on the case, Kaplan said, “it is disturbingly common in this town to be discriminated against after you announce a pregnancy.” He added that before the suit was filed, his team tried to resolve the matter with Omni, but those efforts failed. As a result, he filed a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against the company.

So how has Omni responded to the allegations? So far, Kristen Cadenhead, a spokesperson with Omni, said:

We’re unable to provide specific details due to pending litigation; however, discrimination on any basis at Omni Hotels & Resorts is strictly prohibited. As the suit mentions, Ms. Teague’s layoff was part of a round of layoffs when Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa closed for a $150 million renovation. When the job was re-opened, Ms. Teague was replaced by another female candidate.”


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