Housekeepers Say They Were Fired For Tearing Down 'Degrading' Swimsuit Photos

housekeepers fired sistersTwo sisters who have a combined 30 years experience working as housekeepers at a California Hyatt have been fired. They say they were let go by the Santa Clara Hyatt after complaining about being depicted as swimsuit-clad surfers for Housekeeping Appreciation Week.

The older sister, Lorena Reyes, 50, of San Jose, began at the hotel before Hyatt even began running it. Martha Reyes, 48, of Milpitas, has worked for the hotel for six years. When management accused them on Oct. 14 of "stealing company time" for taking excessive breaks, they were shown the front door, according to Jezebel.The decision was made after the hotel launched an investigation into the matter.

The investigation came 24 years into the elder sister's tenure at the hotel, but just a month after the sisters' run-in with management over the celebration marking Housekeeping Appreciation Week. Indeed, the hotel says the two sisters were being recognized for their service as housekeepers during the September celebration. And to shine a spotlight on them, hotel management said it decided to have what they thought was a little fun. They superimposed photos of their faces on cartoon images of surfers. They posted the images in the hallway of the staff-only section of the hotel.

It apparently didn't amuse the women.

"When I saw the photos I was very shocked. I was very embarrassed and angry," Lorena Reyes told NBC's Bay Area affiliate. "What they did was unjust, displaying our bodies in that manner."

Instead of approaching a manager over the photos, Martha says that she tore them down. When the employee who had put up the photos caught wind of Martha's act, the employee reportedly moved to have them restored.

"Everybody was enthusiastic about what we were celebrating. Many folks even wanted to take their images home," Peter Hillan, a Hyatt spokesman told the TV station. Some 75 staff images were reportedly included in the collage. In response to the firing, the Reyes sisters filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. They say that they are only seeking back pay and their jobs reinstated. They aren't seeking any damages. For its part, the Hyatt chain is standing by the firing, and says the management wasn't even aware of the scuffle over the photos during the investigation.

The Reyes' story has nevertheless touched a nerve in the local community. This past Friday saw a march in front of the Santa Clara hotel, attended by some 20 or 30 protesters on the sisters' behalf. Speaking to the local media, the sisters' legal representation said the sisters' practice of combining breaks with lunch was a common and long accepted practice.

"Firing these long-term employees with weak rationale is not good enough and they need to take serious complaints about sexually degrading photos," said Adam Zapala, the Reyes sisters' attorney, told ABC affilate, KGO-TV.

Next: Tipping Guidelines For The Holidays And Beyond

Don't Miss: Companies Hiring Now

Stories from

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:

Their lawyers are the real problem... frigging parasites.

December 21 2011 at 3:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Andreas Inamorato

Were the pics offensive?
I dunno, did it show them surfing across the Rio Grande?

December 21 2011 at 2:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Its sad that these 2 sisters were working at the Hyatt for such a long time (one with 6 years & the other with over 10 years) and they needed an INTERPRETER for the interview. WTF I'm so glad they can understand our legal system, but can't talk ENGLISH...I know this is rude but WTF. When you live in a different country PLEASE PLEASE try to speak that country's language.

December 21 2011 at 12:28 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to Kerry's comment

excessive breaks and surly attitudes = fired. I would also check to see if they and the 20-30 people demonstrating are in the US illegally.

December 21 2011 at 12:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Violet Moon

Give me a break and lighten up people. The photo's were in jest and not only those two were in the collage. They weren't being picked on. If they got fired for not doing their jobs then that is there own fault not because they don't have a sense of humor. People sue for anything these days, what a waste of court time.

December 20 2011 at 6:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Two fatties and they put skinny bods on them.. lol.. I bet they are both illegal immigrants anyway..

December 20 2011 at 2:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

these pictures could only serve one purpose, discourage people from eating.

December 20 2011 at 11:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They were never asked or told about using there images for "entertainment" purposes, ever. That violates their rights, without permission. Not funny endearing or amusing at all. I would remove anything with my likeness as well if I wasn't asked...plain rude.

December 20 2011 at 1:10 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to wranglerswthrt's comment


December 21 2011 at 1:58 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Fred Derf

can guarantee the only "people" winning this one will be the lawyers....

December 19 2011 at 1:42 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Where in the article above is their any mention of the women's language skills? I could not find anything but maybe the above is not the complete article... Still, if the language skills were fine for 24 years how do you account for that.

December 19 2011 at 10:38 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to xmountie's comment

About 30 seconds into the video at the bottom of the article.

December 21 2011 at 5:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Search Articles

Picks From the Web