Verona Resort sued for pregnancy discrimination


Court papers state that Verona allegedly labeled the pregnant employee’s request for reasonable accommodations as “problematic.”

Guam – Once thought to be a story of a bygone era, workplace discrimination on island appears to continue as a former Verona Resort and Spa front desk agent has sued the hotel alleging she was fired in 2014 because she was pregnant.

The suit filed in District Court was originally filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission which conducted an investigation into the allegations that Verona Resort and Spa over the course of about five months had denied the employee reasonable work accommodations and ultimately fired her because she was pregnant.

But that’s not all, the front desk agent also suffers from diabetes. Court documents state in June 2014, she notified the hotel that she was pregnant. The employee worked as a front desk agent which required her to remain on her feet for long periods of time. According to the EEOC, in October 2014, the employee also provided two doctor’s notes, one indicating that she had gestational diabetes, a condition which limited her ability to stand and another recommending that she be accommodated by allowing her to sit during parts of her shift and wear opened-toed shoes. But her request for a chair at the front desk was never provided. Instead she was transferred to work in the reservations department, according to court papers.

The complaint states that just days after her request, Verona Resort and Spa retaliated by terminating her employment citing the employee’s pregnancy impacted her ability to perform her duties as the reason for the termination. The complaint alleges that the employer further labeled her request for reasonable accommodation as “problematic.”

According to the EEOC, this is in direct violation of equal employment opportunities and “were done with malice or with reckless indifference to the federally protected rights of the employee,” adding that the unlawful employment practices caused the employee to suffer emotional distress.

The Commission is requesting that the District Court of Guam grant a permanent injunction preventing the hotel from engaging in sex and disability discrimination and retaliation.

The Commission is also requesting for compensation for monetary losses including back pay and front pay, compensation for emotional pain and suffering, mental anguish, inconvenience, humiliation and loss of enjoyment of life as well as punitive damages and court fees.

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Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.