DAMAGES: Former dishwasher Marie Jean Pierre has been awarded $21 million
A CHRISTIAN hotel worker has been awarded $21 million after she was dismissed after refusing to work on Sundays.
Marie Jean Pierre, who worked at the Conrad Miami Hotel as a dishwasher for more than a decade before she was fired in 2016, filed a lawsuit against her former employer, which sacked her after she failed to work on six Sundays.
Pierre, who was attending Bethel Baptist Church in Miami on each of the Sundays in question, said she told her employer that she was not able to work on Sundays at the start of her employment.
The 60-year-old told NBC 6 Miami: “I love God. No work on Sunday, because Sunday I honor God.”
“They accommodated her for seven years, and they easily could have accommodated her, but instead of doing that, they set her up for absenteeism and threw her out,” NBC 6 Miami reported her lawyer Marc Brumer said.
He added: “She’s a soldier of Christ. She was doing this for all the other workers who are being discriminated against.”
On Monday, a court ruled that Pierre’s former employer would have to pay her $21 million in damages as well as $35,000 in back pay and another $500,000 for the emotional pain and mental anguish she suffered as a result of their conduct.
Conrad Miami Hotel said it intends to appeal the jury’s decision.
Legislation that caps punitive damages in federal court means Pierre will not receive the $21 million in its entirety but her lawyer said he believes she will get at least $500,000.
“This was not about money. This was about sending a message to other corporations whether big or small,” he told NBC 6 Miami. “Whatever size you are, if you’re going to take the blood and sweat of your workers, you better accommodate them or let them at least believe in their religious beliefs.”
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