Things That Matter

Latino Employees At A San Antonio Resort Were Told Not To Speak Spanish And The Resort Is Now Paying Them $2.6 Million

Located just north of downtown San Antonio, sits a picturesque hotel atop a hill that sports a lavish pool and jacuzzi, a relaxing outdoor seating area with a bonfire, and spacious rooms. It’s a place where people come to get away and get pampered to the nines. This magical place is called La Cantera Resort & Spa, and it’s so grand and beautiful that it’s won awards, including the Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers Choice Awards for the top resort in Texas and the Southwest. However, underneath all the beauty are people that clean it, that cook for guests, that help put the hotel on its high pedestal. It is those people who claim the former management discriminated against them because of their national origin. 

The former management team of La Cantera Resort & Spa agreed they would settle a lawsuit against Latino staff who claim they discriminated against for speaking Spanish. 

Credit: YouTube

The lawsuit was initially filed last year after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigated the claims for three years. 

“According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the resort in Northwest San Antonio changed management in 2014 and began prohibiting employees from speaking Spanish. Management allegedly punished those who violated the language ban with write-ups, demotions, and firings,” the Rivard Report found. 

The lawsuit also claimed that some staff members were called “Mexican spics” and said Spanish was a “foul language.”

Credit: lacanteraresort / Instagram

“My father, he speaks Spanish, and they were telling me not to talk to my dad in Spanish, and I can’t [not speak Spanish] – it’s my father,” Sergio Vitela told the Rivard Report last year. He and his dad both worked at the resort. “That’s when I started seeing the first signs of them not liking our culture and race, really. They were telling us not to speak any Spanish.”

A year after the lawsuit was filed, the former managers have agreed to settle the matter out of court and pay 25 Latino workers $2,625,000. 

Credit: @workinjurytx / Twitter

Former managers of La Cantera Resort & Spa have maintained that the allegations against them were false. 

John Spomer, the resort’s former vice president, and managing director said that employees were only instructed to speak the language that hotel guests spoke to them. 

“It’s part of the service business,” Spomer said last year. “When spoken to in one language, we should speak in that language.”

According to Business Insurance, the former managers of La Cantera Resort & Spa said the reason they decided to pay because “it was decided that there was value in bringing the matter to a conclusion and agreed to a $2.625 million settlement.”

The EEOC stated that enforcing employees to only speak English creates a hostile environment. 

Credit: @TheSoundStaffin / Twitter

“English-only workplace policies can be discriminatory and foster a hostile environment when implemented with the intent to silence foreign languages in the workplace or manufacture a reason to discipline persons who are not native English speakers,” EEOC Trial Attorney Philip Moss stated in a press release

The lawsuit claims La Cantera Resort & Spa violated “Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on national origin, including harassment and retaliation, forbids such alleged conduct.”

“An employee working in the U.S. should not have to fear being fired, demoted or subjected to discipline because his or her family tree has roots in another country, Robert Canino, the regional attorney for the Dallas District Office of the EEOC, said in a statement. “San Antonio, Texas is an environment rich with cross-cultural communication. Beyond the requirements of the law, business patrons might also appreciate a service industry that reflects that diversity.”

It looks as if the new management is more supportive of their diverse staff, their native language, and all they contribute. 

Credit: lacanteraresort / Instagram

Late last month, La Cantera Resort & Spa gave a shoutout to their housekeeping staff after they won the Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers Choice Awards for the top resort and said on Instagram, ” To continue recognizing the people that helped us earn the spot as the @cntraveler Readers’ Choice #1 Resort in Texas & the Southwest, we’d like to introduce our housekeeping team. Beyond a spotless room, a smile & friendly “hello” in the hallways and a handwritten thank you note to our guests – their passion and dedication embodies the La Cantera Resort & Spa culture of serving. Thank you for all that you do. #TEAMLaCantera.” 

That goes to show, when you treat your employees with respect, they will do a good job for you. 

READ: They Couldn’t Find A Job Because Of Discrimination, So They Did The Next Best Thing

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Five Migrant Girls Were Found Left Alone And Abandoned In The Texas Heat

Things That Matter

Five Migrant Girls Were Found Left Alone And Abandoned In The Texas Heat

This past March, according to El Pais, migrants crossed the Rio Grande at an all-time high not seen in the past 15 years. US government reports underlined that a total of 171,000 people arrived at the southern border of the United States in March. Eleven percent were minors who made the journey by themselves.

Reports say that this vulnerable group will continue to grow in size with recent shifts in the Biden administration child immigration policies. Five migrants girls recently found by the river recently became part of this group.

An onion farmer in Quemado recently reported that he found five migrant girls on his land.

The girls were each under the age of seven, the youngest was too small to even walk. Three of the girls are thought to be from Honduras, the other two are believed to have come from Guatemala.​ Jimmy Hobbs, the farmer who found the girls, said that he called the Border Patrol gave the children aid by giving them water and food and putting them in the shade.

“I don’t think they would have made it if I hadn’t found them,” Hobbs told US Rep. Tony Gonzalez (R-Texas) in a New York Post. “Because it got up to 103 yesterday.”

“My thoughts are that it needs to stop right now. There are going to be thousands. This is just five miles of the Rio Grande,” Hobbs’ wife added in their conversation with Gonzalez. “That’s a huge border. This is happening all up and down it. It can’t go on. It’s gonna be too hot. There’ll be a lot of deaths, a lot of suffering.” 

“It is heartbreaking to find such small children fending for themselves in the middle of nowhere,” Chief Border Patrol Agent Austin Skero II explained of the situation in an interview with ABC 7 Eyewitness News. “Unfortunately this happens far too often now. If not for our community and law enforcement partners, these little girls could have faced the more than 100-degree temperatures with no help.”

According to reports, the Customs and Border Protection stated that the five girls​ ​will be processed and placed in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services.​

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Iowa Woman Pleads Guilty to Federal Hate Crime Charges After Running Over Latino and Black Children With Her Car

Things That Matter

Iowa Woman Pleads Guilty to Federal Hate Crime Charges After Running Over Latino and Black Children With Her Car

Photo: Polk County Jail via Associated Press

On Wednesday, an Iowa woman pled guilty to federal hate crime charges. The woman, 43-year-old Nicole Poole Franklin, intentionally hit a 12-year-old Black boy and a 14-year-old Latina with her car in 2019. The charges include two counts of violating the U.S Hate Crime Act, as Poole Franklin intended to kill the victims because of their ethnicity.

Nicole Poole Franklin admitted to authorities that she targeted the girl because she thought she looked “Mexican”. She thought the boy was an Islamic terrorist.

As part of her defense, Poole Franklin is claiming that she suffers from schizophrenia and PTSD. Since her arrest, she admitted to police officers that she smoked meth before going on her hate-filled rampage.

The incident, which happened in December of 2019, struck fear into the hearts of communities of color in Des Moines, Iowa, where the hate crimes took place. “Anytime things happen to any minority, people are concerned about what happened,” said Joe Gonzalez, the executive director of Latino Resources Inc. in Iowa. “It was a horrific thing and people were concerned — especially people of color.”

When Nicole Poole Franklin ran over the children, she injured the boy’s leg. The girl, Natalia Miranda, was knocked unconscious and hospitalized for two days.

Natalia Miranda was walking to junior high school on December 9, 2019, when Poole Franklin ran her down on the side walk. Miranda was unconscious for 40 minutes before she woke up and walked to school, where she alerted the authorities.

Natalia Miranda says she remembers the car speeding towards her, but she doesn’t remember being hit. “I was in the hospital and I tried moving, and I couldn’t get out of my bed,” the 14-year-old told KCCI. “Sitting up was the worst pain I’ve ever felt.”

As of now, prosecutors are recommending that Nicole Poole Franklin serve 27 years behind bars.

Poole Franklin is also looking at two charges of attempted murder–both of which could carry up to 25 years each. Prosecutors are recommending that she serves all of the jailtime–state and federal–at the same time.

Here’s to hoping that the justice system does what is right and puts Nicole Poole Franklin behind bars for a long time–if only to save the lives of innocent children of color whose only crime is walking down the street.

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