L ast summer, Dominique Hill and Irving Smith Jr. left their cushy restaurant jobs to work at BLT Prime, Trump International Hotel’s luxury steakhouse in Washington D.C.
But things aren’t going how they expected (surprise!), and now they’ve filed a civil complaint alleging racial discrimination from the Trump Organization and the hotel’s managing director, Mickael Damelincourt, who they say cheated Black employees out of lucrative shifts and “subjected them to discriminatory behavior by other staff and guests.”
“Some days I would just stand there all day long and have no customers,” Hill, who was hired as the first bartender upon the hotel’s opening last fall, told The Washington Post. He was only making $300-$400 for 30-hour+ workweeks (before joining BLT, Hill and Smith were making anywhere between $700 and $800 weekly).
Smith, who still works as a server and was demoted shortly after business started, says prime shifts primarily go to white and Latinx employees.
“They started hiring all these people and instead of putting them on day shifts they was giving them night shifts and keeping us on day shift,” says Smith. “Next thing I know, within the month all the Black people were on the day shift.”
But the Trump Organization has unsurprisingly denied allegations, calling them “baseless” and claiming Hill and Smith were never hired to begin with.
“Rather, the plaintiffs worked for a third-party restaurant company that is solely responsible for the direction, supervision, and management of its own employees,” Amanda Miller, a spokeswoman for the Trump Organization, said in a statement. “In short, this lawsuit appears to be nothing more than a desperate, politically-motivated publicity stunt. We look forward to litigating this matter.”
Trump may not run the company anymore (WaPo reports ownership was placed into a trust weeks before he was elected), but his character’s essence appears to remain. According to Smith, coworkers began saying really racist s–t just after the election, and management did nothing about it.
“He used to say, ‘This is white America time, you need to get used to it, and if you don’t get used to it you should go work somewhere else,’” he alleges of a coworker.
Read more here.