A Black woman has filed a $300,000 lawsuit against the Residence Inn by Marriott in Portland, Oregon, after an employee forced her to sign a "no party" waiver that wasn't required of white customers.
Felicia Gonzales, a 51-year-old beautician living in Rancho Cucamonga, California, said she was visiting family in Portland on January 25, 2019, when she decided to stay at the hotel for five nights.
In her lawsuit that was filed this week in Multnomah County, Gonzales said hotel general manager Lee Luetjen and another employee forced her to sign the lengthy "no party" policy while claiming everyone had to sign it before staying at the hotel.
She spent her entire life living in Portland before moving to California in 2018 and is a Marriott rewards member. She said she was tired after a 20-hour drive and decided to sign the two-page document before going to her room.
According to The Oregonian, the contract still seemed strange to her after she unpacked, so she went back to the hotel lobby to see whether everyone was being asked to sign it.
Gonzales sat and watched as the same front desk employees allowed multiple white people to check-in without signing the "no party" document that included policies that made guests responsible for any damage done by “invited or uninvited person(s).” The document also stated that "No hotels want to have parties in them and we don’t want that type of business.”
“Ms. Gonzales observed as multiple Caucasian guests checked in. None of them were asked to sign a 'no party' policy,” the lawsuit stated.
In the civil complaint, her lawyer, Gregory Kafoury, added that Gonzales felt "embarrassment, frustration, anger, humiliation" and a "sense of increased vulnerability, and feelings of racial stigmatization" after the incident.
On Thursday, a Marriott spokesperson declined to comment on the lawsuit but tacitly sought to distance the company from specific Portland hotels."While this hotel is a franchise property and is operated by a third-party management company, Marriott strives to provide an environment where all feel welcome," a Marriott statement read.