Naples Ritz-Carlton Being Sued by Waiter for Honoring Guest’s Discriminatory Request

Written By Scott Joseph On April 26, 2010

Restaurant owners: This is a topic you and your staff should discuss at length. How would you have handled this situation?

A British family vacationing at the Naples Ritz-Carlton in February and March made it clear when they checked in that they did not want to be served by any “people of color” or anyone with a foreign accent. (I wonder how the latter demand sounded in a foreign accent, but that’s not the point.) Hotel management agreed to the demands, according to a lawsuit filed against the luxury hotel by waiter Wadner Tranchant, a Haitian-born U.S. citizen and 15-year employee who apparently violated both directives. The suit cites that a note was entered into the hotel’s computer system that made clear the edict was supported by Ritz-Carlton’s managing director, Edward Staros. It read: “As per Mr. Staros, this couple is very, very prejudice(d) and do like like (sic) ppl of color or foreign accents.”

Tranchant was stopped from serving the Rodney Morgan family in the beachside Grill restaurant. According to one account, the family had ordered Dover sole (a taste of home, no doubt) and it was Tranchant’s duty to fillet the fish tableside.

The lawsuit says this isn’t the first time such a request has been made of the hotel, according to a story published by And that isn’t surprising.

In fact, I have to believe this sort of thing happens all the time in restaurants all over the country, and especially here in Central Florida. I’m just guessing it happens with more subtlety. It isn’t against the law to be a pinheaded bigot.

What about it, restaurant owners? Have you had such requests? How have you handled them? And if it hasn’t happened to you, how would you have dealt with the case of the foreigner-hating foreigners in Naples?

Leave a comment here, or, if you prefer, send me a private note that I can share anonymously with everyone.

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