DALLAS -- A former Omni Hotels employee is suing the popular Dallas-based hotel chain, claiming she was sexually harassed and there is a glass ceiling within the company that kept her from being promoted.
"It was extremely difficult as a woman to get recognized or get promoted," said Sarah Lindsley, who filed the lawsuit. "I am by far not the only woman this has happened to."
Lindsley started at Omni in 2001, a young mother working her way up from a server position to an executive role. But in the suit filed Wednesday, it alleges that "there is a glass ceiling at Omni Hotels" and "a system of unequal pay, discrimination, harassment and retaliation."
"I did above and beyond what was required, and I never was considered for the promotions that men who would walk in and just get," said Lindsley.
Omni Hotels is headquartered in Dallas. Lindsley worked at locations in Tucson and Corpus Christi. According to the suit, she was "one of four female food and beverage directors" among Omni's fifty-plus properties. The suit says "she was paid less than men who had the same title and did the same work."
"It is called the Boys' Club openly," said Lindsley. "When I would go to HR and have questions about anything, 'Well, it's the Boys Club.' It was just something that was said."
In a statement, Omni Hotels spokesperson Kristen Cadenhead said, "We are not aware of the alleged lawsuit. However, I can tell you that at Omni Hotels & Resorts, harassment on any basis is strictly prohibited."
In the lawsuit, Lindsley said she complained to the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. A letter from an official is included as an exhibit in the lawsuit, with the finding that "she was paid unequal wages based on her sex."
Eventually, Lindsley left the company where she worked 15 years.
"Unfortunately, I didn't just lose my job. I lost my friends," she said. "It's a little bit hard."
Lindsley's attorney said Omni needs to change its corporate culture.
"She gave the company every opportunity to do it right, and at every turn they did it wrong," said attorney James Vagnini.
She is seeking damages and compensation for the "harassment and discrimination that marred her time at Omni."