When Martha Reyes arrived at work at the Hyatt Hotel Santa Clara, she heardher coworkers laughing at a photo collage that had been posted. She saw her picture edited onto the ‘sexy’ body of a bikini-clad woman holding a surfboard. Her sister Lorena also had a faked image posted. The collage was posted to celebrate Housekeeper Appreciation Week.
Yes, you read that right. For Housekeeper Appreciation Week, the hotel thought it would be fun to have faked photos of its staff’s faces pasted onto bikini-clad bodies.
Humiliated, Martha took down the photos. Management insisted that she return them, but she refused. Martha declared that if anyone wanted the photos back, they would have to get them from her in court. Days later, the Hyatt Hotel fired both Martha and her sister Lorena.
It’s always hard to say what each of us would do in a situation like this. Would you stand up to management? Would you risk your job? Your security? The food you put on your table?
Martha did. And she was fired.
Now, she and her sister have started a petition at the powerhouse online petition site, Change.org, to demand that the Hyatt give them back their jobs and grant back pay for the time they’ve been out of work.
The hotel is claiming that Martha and Lorena were fired after taking an extra long break one afternoon. This, after excellent work records for their collective 31 years of service to the hotel. But I’m sure it’s just coincidence that this is happening shortly after Martha took down the humiliating photos.
Like all employees, Martha and Lorena Reyes deserve to work in an environment that is free of sexual harassment and degrading treatment. And this incident is just one of many injustices against the Hyatt’s housekeeping staff. In a study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine examining a total of 50 hotel properties from 5 different hotel companies, Hyatt housekeepers had the highest injury rate of all housekeepers studied. To date, OSHA or its state counterparts have issued 16 citations against the Hyatt at 16 hotels and 3 citations against one of the Hyatt’s housekeeping subcontractors at one of those hotels, alleging violations of safety regulations that protect housekeepers and other employees.
So perhaps the Hyatt Hotel just wasn’t aware of what it meant to really appreciate one’s staff?
This isn’t the first time that the Hyatt Hotel has celebrated Housekeeper Appreciation Week by objectifying and humiliating its staff. Last year, management made fake $100 bills, wrote the housekeepers’ names on each one, and pasted their photos to the middle of each bill.
Fem2.0 is standing with not only Martha and Lorena, but with all workers who are subjected to this kind of treatment. Click here to sign the petition and stand with Martha and Lorena.
Then, be sure to share it with a friend. It’s important that we support women – and men – who stand up to this kind of mistreatment and abuse. Fem2.0 is proud to stand with these workers – we know you will be, too.