PRESS RELEASE: Women Leaders Rise Up in Support of SaMo Hotel Worker Filing Sexual Harassment Complaint Against Aimbridge-Operated Property

Santa Monicans gather to support women hotel workers standing up against sexual harassment

Santa Monica, Calif.: Days before the Film Independent Spirit Awards take place in Santa Monica, prominent women leaders from CLUE, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Program for Torture Victims joined silence breakers to rally and picket outside the Hampton Inn Santa Monica. They expressed support for hotel worker Maritza Villeda, who submitted a complaint to the California Civil Rights Department alleging that her employer, the Aimbridge Hospitality-operated Hampton Inn Santa Monica, failed to respond properly to her complaints of sexual harassment by a coworker and instead terminated her.

In a letter to the California Civil Rights Department, long-time Aimbridge employee Villeda alleged that a valet employee repeatedly verbally threatened her at work, including by aggressively calling her a “fucking bitch.” In her letter, Villeda alleges that the verbal threats and sexist slurs continued on a near-daily basis for over six weeks, even though she reported the behavior to the general manager on multiple occasions. She alleges that the hotel failed to respond appropriately to her complaints of harassment, and that instead, the hotel retaliated against her by terminating her.

Hotel worker stands up against sexual harassment

Hotel workers have a long history of fighting for protections against assault in Santa Monica, and fought in 2018 to pass laws that then expanded across to multiple cities.

Workers at the Hampton Inn Santa Monica are part of dozens of other hotel workers who have been fighting for a fair contract since July 2023. There is currently a boycott of Aimbridge Hospitality.

“Women’s rights are civil rights and we must protect them! SLCL is proud to stand with Maritza and her coworkers,” said Reverend Thembekila Smart of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Southern California.