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

A Substitute Teacher In Texas Had Sex With Her Student In Her Parents’ Home

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A Substitute Teacher In Texas Had Sex With Her Student In Her Parents’ Home

Pasadena Texas Police Department

Olivia Huerta, 23, was arraigned Thursday on second-degree felony charges of an improper relationship with a student and sexual assault of a child between the ages of 14 and 16. She’s being held on a bond of $40,000.

The assault happened sometime between January and April of 2018 when Huerta was substituting for a social science teacher at Pasadena Independent School District’s Sam Rayburn High School. A year later, the then 16-year-old victim told his friend what happened, and the friend told school administrators, who called the police, according to the report by KPRC.

The unnamed victim told police that the two were talking via Snapchat.

Credit: Pasadena Texas Police Department

Police reports show that the student alleged that the two had exchanged phone numbers. They texted and had conversations through Snapchat. Later, when police were questioning Huerta, they say she confessed to the crime. She also voluntarily gave her phone to police to show the text conversations between the two. Police say the conversations allude to the inappropriate relationship.

The student couldn’t remember the teacher’s name and described her to police as a short, curvy Latina. After showing him several photos of Latina substitute teachers employed by the school district at the time of the incident, he identified Huerta. She was arrested after admitting to the relationship.

They had sex at Huerta’s parents’ house.

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The victim told police that Huerta and he walked from school to her parents’ house, where they had sex. It was a one-night-stand that left the student a victim of sexual assault and pedophilia.

When the allegation came to light, the school district immediately removed Huerta from campus.

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In a statement made to KPRC2, school district officials made it clear that anyone accused of sexual assault is not welcome on school campuses. “Upon receiving the allegation, the administration at Sam Rayburn High School immediately notified district administration and the Pasadena ISD Police Department. The accused individual was promptly removed from campus and is no longer employed by Pasadena ISD.”

The story and its implications are being lost on some people who are reading about it.

Credit: Frank Huerta / Facebook

In a Facebook comment under the story, AJ Hernandez asked (edited for grammar), “So my question: Why don’t they blast the student as well? After all, didn’t the student go along with it? I blame the kid as much as well.” Many people in the comments seem to think that Huerta “looks like a child as well,” and that the age difference isn’t “so bad.” One Laura Montaño agreed with Hernandez, commenting, “They just act like the victims so they won’t be held accountable for their actions! How is it that teenagers are able to go to jail for murder but are victims when it comes to sex???? Makes no sense! Yeah, adults should know better but she looks like a child to me as well!”

Someone named Maestro Salchicha responded defending the child from the online fury saying, “Because kids are kids and ultimately victims of these adults who know better.”

The legal age of consent in Texas is 17 years old.

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The legal age of consent across the United States varies from 16 years old to 18 years old. There are also “close in age” laws, that allow for a minor to consent to sex with an adult who is closer in age. In Texas, the age of consent is 17 years old, and the close-in-age law provides an age exemption if the person is no more than 3 years older than the minor.

In case you missed it, consent isn’t always consent if the person says “yes.”

Credit: Iris Rodriguez / Facebook

In certain power dynamics, consent isn’t always able to be given freely. Employers sleeping with their employees are frowned upon because of the financial pressure for the subordinate to ‘consent.’ Other forces besides a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ are at play. The individuals must be weighted equals in the power dynamic.

In 2003, Representative Helen Giddings (D), introduced a bill that bans sex between students and teachers within the same school district. This all means that Huerta’s victim was not legally able to give his consent, given his age, and a victim of the student-teacher ban.

If you have any information about the case, you can call the Pasadena ISD Police Department at 713-740-0200.

Credit: chrisgonzo21 / Instagram

Men are flooding the comments with, “Where these teachers when I was a teenager attending class?” One woman mocked the onslaught of jokes with a comment, “Derp “wEaR wErr dEEz TeeCheRs WiN eYe WuZ N sKoOl” Someone else commented, “All the men in these comments disgust me.” A child was raped by a teacher in Pasadena, Texas last year. That’s never okay.

READ: One San Francisco Man Used The New Snapchat Filters To Nag A Police Officer For Attempting To Sleep With A Minor

It Started As An Attack On Migrants But California’s Prop 187 Helped Shape California’s Political Identity Today

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It Started As An Attack On Migrants But California’s Prop 187 Helped Shape California’s Political Identity Today

Bruce Huff / LA Times Archive

Today is the 25th anniversary of California voters passage of Proposition 187 which denied public service to immigrants without legal status. The prevailing legacy of Prop 187 should be a point of pride for California Latinxs who successfully overturned a scathing anti-immigrant measure. According to LAist, it “remains one of the most divisive measures in state history, and the battle over its passage ultimately reshaped California politics.”

The policy denied public health care and all education from elementary school to college to undocumented immigrants. Under Prop 187, state and local agencies had to report any immigrants who did not fulfill residency criteria to state and federal authorities.

When the initiative entered the ballot on November 8, 1994, it passed with 59% in favor. Following an uphill legal battle, it was declared unconstitutional in 1997 by a federal judge. Despite its horrid attack on the immigrant community, the battle to dismantle the proposition is what shifted California from a beacon of conservatism to a reliably blue state today. 

25 years ago, California officials concocted a plan to blame immigrants for a recent state recession. 

Following a state recession, in 1994, that cost California thousands of jobs, Republican Assemblyman Dick Mountjoy, an accountant and a political team came up with the ballot measure nicknamed “Save Our State.” Mountjoy’s measure said Californians suffered “economic hardship” because of undocumented immigrants using public services. 

Under the extreme initiative, anyone who wasn’t “lawfully admitted for a period of time” in the United States would be denied social services and education. Children would be kicked out of public schools after 90 days if their parents could not prove they were lawfully in the U.S. Moreover, teachers, health care providers, and law enforcement would be forced to survey their neighbors and report any individuals they believed to be undocumented to federal immigration agencies. 

These xenophobic provisions were alleged to “save money” for California. Prop 187 came during Republican Governor Pete Wilson’s re-election campaign, which was losing in the polls. Wilson was already using anti-immigrant rhetoric in his campaign ads, thus supporting Prop 187 was a no-brainer for the troubled governor. 

Latinx begin to organize against Prop 187.

During a debate, Wilson made it clear he had a zero-tolerance policy when it came to undocumented immigrants when he was asked if he would call INS on a second-grader.  

“I make no apology for putting California children first…Yes, those children who are in the country illegally deserve an education, but the government that owes it to them is not in Sacramento or even in Washington. It is in the country from which they have come, Wilson said

The same day 70,000 people, many Latinxs, marched in opposition to Prop 187. According to a Baltimore Sun report from the rally, at the time, it was the largest demonstration the state had ever seen. 

A graduate student, Angel Cervantes, organized 10,000 students from 30 LAUSD schools staged a walkout on November 2, 1994 — 6 days before the vote. 

“It was the biggest thing I had ever seen, probably one of the most life-changing empowering, moments,” Cervantes told the LA Times in 1994. “To see so many groups, so many organizations, so many banners, so many different Latin Americans… it was very powerful.”

Prop 187 passed — but it wouldn’t hold for long. 

Prop passed with 59 percent of voters approving it. But it was immediately challenged in court by seven groups, five of the lawsuits would make it through. Court Judge Mariana Pfaelzer issued a preliminary injunction blocking implementation on December 14, 1994. Despite appeals by the state, by 1996 President Bill Clinton’s welfare reform law would only strengthen the legal opposition to Prop 187. 

“Judge Pfaelzer ruled that the measure was unconstitutional in Nov. 1997, and almost two years later, in Jul. 1999, Proposition 187 was effectively overturned via federal mediation,” according to LAist. 

The fight against Prop 187 would solidify a better, stronger Democratic electorate — including a coalition of Latinxs.

The Republican-backed Prop 187 solidified for many Latinxs of the time that the GOP was an anti-immigrant and anti-Latinx party, causing many to flee toward the Democrats. These new Latinx Democrats would put Latinxs in elected offices in the years to come and shift California left. 

A report by Latino Decisions found that from 1994 to 2004, 1.8 million new voters, 66 percent of which were Latinx and 23 percent of which were Asian, registered in California. Today roughly 80 percent of elected positions in California belong to Democrats. 

The fight against Prop 187 unified Latinxs and other immigrants in a way the state had never seen. It forever changed the demographics of California politics and proved Latinxs were a valuable electorate with the power to transform.