LIHUE — A former human resources director at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort &Spa in Poipu is suing the hotel chain for sex-based discrimination, harassment and wrongful termination, claiming she was “conveniently” fired after returning from pregnancy leave.
A civil complaint was filed in Fifth Circuit Court last month on behalf of Rebecca Quammie, who worked for the Hyatt hotel chain at locations on the mainland since 1999 and at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort &Spa from March 2014 until she was fired in September 2017.
“Hyatt continues to foster a ‘boys club’ among the management and leadership positions, and those in the ‘club’ are protected,” Quammie’s attorneys say in the lawsuit, claiming she “experienced discrimination and harassment because of her gender, as a female, and eventually as a pregnant female.”
Among the instances of sex-based discrimination described in the civil complaint was an allegation that the pay grades established by the Hyatt “were not equally applied to female employees,” and that the hotel’s leadership committee members “had an overall prejudice against female employees.”
In late September 2017, shortly after returning from pregnancy leave, the lawsuit says Quammie was called into a meeting with the hotel’s general manager and vice president of human resources, who gave her “a list of alleged concerns other employees had about her.”
Among the list of employee concerns presented to Quammie were complaints that said she was aggressive, unapproachable, made others feel as though they were doing something wrong, lacked empathy and “walked out of meetings and slammed doors when she got mad,” claims which Quammie believes “were pretext for discrimination,” the lawsuit says.
The following day, Quammie was called into another meeting and fired from her position at the Hyatt, according to the lawsuit, which says “it was evident” that the decision to terminate her was made “well before” the previous day’s meeting.
“Had Ms. Quammie been a male employee, especially a male executive,” the lawsuit says, “she would not be abruptly terminated without warning and denied an opportunity to correct her ‘alleged’ performance issue.”
The lawsuit alleges discrimination on the basis of sex and pregnancy, retaliation for reporting the alleged discriminatory behavior, intentional infliction of emotional distress and wrongful termination, and seeks punitive damages in an amount to be proven at trial.
A public relations director with Hyatt’s corporate office declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Caleb Loehrer, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.