Contrary to popular belief, the guest is not always right. Case in point: a British family who reportedly asked they not be served by any black associates during their stay at the Ritz-Carlton Naples.
The family stayed at the property in late February and, incredibly, is alleged to have told management they did not want to be served by any black staff members, according to the Daily Mail.
And, just as incredibly, the management there is alleged to have accommodated the request as it is alleged to have been entered into the property’s computer system.
A Haitian-born waiter has now sued the hotel, claiming management breached the Civil Rights Act when he was not allowed to serve the vacationers.
Rich Roberts, a long-time public relations professional and columnist for HotelNewsNow.com, said the case in Florida “sounds too bizarre to be true.” He has not heard of a similar situation such as the one being reported in Florida.
“It does make you wonder what century we’re living in,” Roberts said. “… This is clearly a situation where the guest is not always right.”
So how should the hotel have responded? The answer is a simple one.
“Say, ‘No,’” Roberts said. “’If that’s your expectation, you’re staying in the wrong hotel.”
A spokesman for Ritz declined to comment on the lawsuit for ABC News, but did say its hotel policy is “to neither condone nor tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind by either our employees or our guests.”
The family in question also has been banned from all Ritz-Carlton hotels.
There is a natural tendency in the hospitality business to try to go above-and-beyond to make guests happy. But that should not have been the case here.
“We have to put employees as the priority (in this case),” Roberts said. “That’s not negotiable. There is no room to make an exception.”