Sisters ‘Humiliated’ by Bikini Photos Fired From Hyatt

Sisters ‘Humiliated’ by Bikini Photos Fired From Hyatt

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Editor's Note: The Reyes sisters were among many Hyatt employees whose faces were pasted on bikini-clad cartoon images on the company’s bulletin board. Humiliated, Martha Reyes tore down the photographs of her and her sister. Both sisters were later fired by the hotel.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – During National Housekeeping Week in September, employees of the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara are usually given some kind of recognition for their hard work. Instead, two sisters, Martha and Lorena Reyes, found photos of their faces "Photoshopped" onto photos of bikini-clad women posted in the staff room. The actual Hyatt photo appears on the left-hand side of the image above, provided by the Reyes' attorney. The sisters agreed to share the photos with the media.

Hyatt spokesperson Peter Hillen said that the hotel was aware of a collage of the associates within the department in which faces of many employees were superimposed onto images of people at a beach, but that they are just beginning the process of figuring out all of the facts. “We’re not quite sure who was behind the collage – whether it was a single individual or a department,” said Hillen.

Whether out of spite or for a laugh, the photos were “shameful,” said Lorena Reyes. "It was very humiliating in my own workplace," she said.

In shock and discomfort, she said, she and her sister ripped the photo down and voiced their opposition to the management. In mid-October, both sisters were fired.

According to the two sisters, hotel management told them they were let go because they allegedly took lunch breaks 10 minutes longer than allotted. The sisters, meanwhile, argue that they often missed their 10-minute break as a result of their heavy workload, and decided to add the 10 minutes to their lunch. Lorena said they've been doing that for years along with other employees who are unable to take their 10-minute break. Hillen could not speak to specifics because of employee privacy issues, but declared that their firing was “separate and apart from the issues of the images” and was a result of “clear and consistent violations of hotel policy and procedures.”

Lorena has been working for the Hyatt for 24 years. Her sister, Martha, has been working there for six years. They claim the hotel management never talked to them about this matter until this incident occurred.

The Reyes sisters filed a retaliation claim against the company on Friday. Community leaders held a protest at the hotel on Friday calling on Hyatt management to immediately reinstate the housekeepers with backpay and to issue a public apology.

Additional reporting by Zaineb Mohammed.