Muslim hotel owner discriminated against Jewish group, jury finds
From the LA Times
The Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica and its owner discriminated against members of a Jewish organization at a charitable event two years ago, a Santa Monica Superior Court jury determined Wednesday.
The case was brought by young leaders of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, who had gathered on the afternoon of July 11, 2010, at the Art Deco hotel. Soon after their party got underway around the pool, hotel staff and security guards began telling group members to remove their literature and banners, to get out of the pool and hot tub, and to stop handing out T-shirts, according to legal documents and testimony.
The employees said they were following the orders of Tehmina Adaya, the hotel owner — a Muslim woman of Pakistani descent.
The jury heard deposition testimony of a former employee, Nathan Codrey, who said Adaya repeatedly used profanity as she insisted that the event stop. “If my [family finds] out there’s a Jewish event here, they’re going to pull money from me immediately,” she said, according to the testimony
The jury found that Adaya and the hotel violated the Unruh Act ( California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, which bars hotels and other businesses from discriminating on the basis of sex, race, color or religion) and inflicted emotional distress. The panel awarded statutory damages of more than $1.2 million. A hearing on punitive damages is scheduled for Thursday.
Posted on 08/16/2012 2:52 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
16 Aug 2012
It's hard to believe that a modern-day business owner would be so ignorant of her state's anti-discrimination laws as to act in the way Adaya did. Surely she was aware that by refusing Jews she was breaking the law.
Did she fancy herself and her establishment to be above the law? It's possibleâ€”other newsworthy incidents in which Muslims display an obvious sense of entitlement are not rare.
Or, did she so fear her family's wrath when they found out that she had Jews as guests that she knowingly broke the law? And what of that familyâ€”do they too consider themselves to be above the law? Obviously the law means nothing to them either.
Overt discrimination, although it may be allowed in Pakistan, is not allowed in California. Perhaps Adaya's family will now rethink their investment strategy.