I mentioned in my last post that my experience working at the Ritz-Carlton Santiago was not a pleasant one by any means. Through much consideration, I have decided that the story should be told to a wider audience, if nothing else to get it out in the open. I have not told this to anyone outside of my family, but I feel that I must share it in order to move forward with the process of closure.
I will start out by quoting the Ritz-Carlton Employee promise from their “Gold Standards”:
At The Ritz-Carlton, our Ladies and Gentlemen are the most important resource in our service commitment to our guests.
By applying the principles of trust, honesty, respect, integrity and commitment, we nurture and maximize talent to the benefit of each individual and the company.
The Ritz-Carlton fosters a work environment where diversity is valued, quality of life is enhanced, individual aspirations are fulfilled, and The Ritz-Carlton Mystique is strengthened.
Unfortunately, I did not receive what I was promised. Instead, I was sexually harassed and treated in a manner that awakened my dormant anxiety issues and threw me into a depression. I worked at the Ritz for three months: from December 2013 to March 2013. Within those three months, I had what turned out to be one of the worst experiences in my entire working career.
At first, I thought that it was going to be a wonderful opportunity. I was hired as a hostess, but was told that within a year I could move onto other positions and work my way through the company. I memorized all of the Gold Standards and until the day I was let go, I did my job to the best of my abilities. I was told by many (customers, coworkers, and management alike) that I had potential for great things, and that I was going to go far.
Regardless of the potential that I was told I had, my boss, the director of the Arola Restaurant treated me terribly. He constantly told me to dress and act “sexier” regardless of the dress codes and supplied uniform at the Ritz, told me sexual jokes and made other inappropriate references about my physique and appearance, forced me into multiple situations (that I am embarrassed to detail here) where I had to do and say things that made me uncomfortable, barked orders at me as if I were a dog in front of clients, constantly degraded me as “stupid” in front of coworkers and clients, and kept me working over 52 hours a week without compensation.
I went in January 2014 to present my problems to Human Resources with the support of many of my coworkers; however, there was no response for over a month. They did, nevertheless, notify my boss of the complaint. From then on the treatment that I received worsened. The last interaction that I had with my boss was him telling me “I hate you” and me running down to cry in the locker room.
The day my contract was terminated, I was not allowed to go to work, but rather called down to HR for a meeting. They told me that through all of their efforts, they had not been able to find a place for me at the Ritz to alleviate my situation that they “felt so sorry about.” So, they decided to let me go.
I do not know if this situation reflects on Ritz-Carlton working environments in other parts of the world, but unfortunately it was the situation I was placed in and have had to recover from.
I feel I must emphasize that I am not writing this because I am bitter. I have a great job now and have put the Ritz in my past. However, I feel that I need to put this out there. For a company that prides itself on customer service, it surely failed in its promise to me as an employee.
All customers should be informed about how an establishment treats its employees. I encourage all of you to pay attention to what is going on “behind the scenes” when no one thinks the clients are looking. If you notice that an employee is being mistreated, please raise the issue with whatever management you can get into contact with. If the issue persists, I further encourage you to do your business elsewhere. We all must do our part to make sure that people are treated with respect.