A Midtown hotel cleaned house last fall, but one of its former housekeepers calls it a dirty move.
Darci Fernandez Penaloza, 65, is suing the Kimberly Hotel for age discrimination. She is seeking class-action status.
Fernandez claims that the boutique hotel fired her and 30 or 40 other employees, all over 40 years old, and replaced them with younger employees, which she alleges violates federal age-discrimination law and New York state and city human-rights laws.
Fernandez had been an employee at the Kimberly, 145 East 50th Street, for about 25 years until she was terminated last February.
The self-described luxury hotel, with room rates starting at $279 a night, closed for part of 2020 and 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It filed a notice April 7, 2020, with the state warning that it would lay off 83 employees.
Fernandez alleges that she was laid off that March, the first month of New York City lockdowns.
The following month, the general manager and vice president of the hotel, Mujo Perezic, sent Fernandez a letter attributing the layoff to the pandemic and saying it was expected to be temporary, her lawsuit says.
But when the Kimberly re-opened in September, Fernandez was not called back.
A couple of months later, Perezic, who declined to comment, allegedly sent Fernandez a letter informing her that her employment would terminate in February 2021, citing lower occupancy and travel restrictions.
But Fernandez alleges that all the housekeepers, porters and doormen who received the termination letter were over 40 and were replaced by younger, presumably lower-paid employees.
Representatives for Fernandez and the Kimberly Hotel could not be reached for comment.