Hotel ordered to pay damages after discrimination complaint

CONSENT DECREE: Polaris Guam LLC, which operates as the Verona Resort & Spa in Tumon, shown in this photograph, has been ordered to pay $15,871.56 to a former employee who filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging she was discriminated against because of her sex and disability. Post file photo

Polaris Guam LLC, which operates as the Verona Resort & Spa in Tumon, has been ordered to pay $15,871 to a former employee who filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging she was discriminated against because of her sex and disability.

Rita Siguenza filed the complaint in July 2017 alleging that the Verona had failed to provide her with "reasonable accommodations" when she became pregnant and developed gestational diabetes. Siguenza said she was fired soon after she requested those accommodations.

Under the terms of a consent decree issued Monday, the Verona must send a check or money order in the amount of $3,871 to Siguenza within 10 days. The remaining $12,000 has to be paid in 12 monthly installments of $1,000 per payment, plus an interest amount calculated at 2.5 percent, beginning May 15.

The consent decree was issued Monday by Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood of the District Court of Guam. The judge ordered Verona's president and owner, David Su, to "execute a personal guarantee on his personal assets ... in the amount of $12,000 plus interest."

The consent decree bars Verona managers and nonmanagers from discriminating against any employee on the basis of their sex or disability, and forbids them from retaliating against current or former employees who may file similar complaints.

The Verona must develop policies and procedures against discrimination and retaliation, and distribute those polices and procedures to their employees, as well as provide training to managers and employees about federal laws regarding retaliation and discrimination.

It must also hire a third-party equal employment opportunity monitor to ensure compliance with the orders.

The Verona is required to "bear all costs associated with its administration and implementation of its obligations" under this consent decree, which will remain in effect for four years unless the EEOC agrees to terminate it after three years.

Earlier complaints

The Verona has been the subject of numerous complaints in recent months.

Last month, 17 employees filed complaints at the Department of Labor, saying they hadn't received their paychecks. Also in April, the attorney general filed suit against the Verona alleging it had failed to pay more than $300,000 in business taxes.

In December, inspectors with the Department of Public Health and Social Services Division of Environmental Health closed down certain floors of the hotel after discovering rodent feces, cockroaches and cockroach egg casings, as well as live and dead cockroaches.

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