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Chateau Marmont Hotel Facing Racial Discrimination Lawsuits

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) -- A famous hotel visited often by celebrities is now the subject of a racial discrimination lawsuit.

The landmark Chateau Marmont hotel, nestled on a hill, overlooking the Sunset Strip, is a getaway for many A-listers.

Behind the scenes, a former employee describes it as anything but peaceful and relaxing.

"I got to a point where I just said enough, this is not okay," said former employee Thomasina Gross.

Gross worked as a banquet server at Chateau Marmont before being let go last March due to the pandemic.

She is one of two former employees who have filed a lawsuit against the hotel, alleging racial discrimination and sexual harassment.

Gross claims management skipped over her for promotions and coveted positions like restaurant server, alleging "most restaurant servers are young, thin, and light-skinned or white" and that "most-less desirable positions are filled by workers of color."

"To then have someone else hired that was white more than one time and then having to basically train them it was really disheartening," Gross said.

The complaint details one instance where allegedly "a male guest would press... into Ms. Gross's back... as she was serving a tray of food to other guests, which happened, about twice a month."

When she complained to management, Gross said nothing was done to address her concerns.

"We shouldn't have to work just as hard or less opportunity to work and less pay and be treated as if our lives are worth less," Gross said.

"We allege in the lawsuit that what happened to (Thomasina) was part of a larger pattern and practice of race discrimination at the Chateau," attorney Lauren Teukolsky.

Last September, dozens of Chateau Marmont employees told the Hollywood Reporter in a Zoom meeting that racism and sexual misconduct happened quite often at the hotel.

Gross says she wanted to share her story to shine a spotlight on the importance of racial diversity, inclusion and safety in the workplace.

"The important thing for me is to change the culture," she said. "It's toxic and it's just not right."

Gross is seeking damages, which include compensation for the loss of salary she would have had if promoted.

A representative for Chateau Marmont has not yet responded to KCAL9/CBS2 with a comment.

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