Lawsuit alleges Trump wanted to fire employees who weren't 'pretty enough'
(FOX 11) - For a number of years, Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes was the focus of a class action lawsuit by hundreds of his employees over working conditions, such as not being paid for missed meals and breaks.
The case was settled in 2013 for $475,000. Attorney Jeffrey Cowan said part of that case was an age discrimination action by a worker named Lucy Messerschmidt. It was resolved, but the terms were not disclosed.
Along the way, as he prepared for his case, Cowan took testimony from a number of the female workers.
"I was discovering that the Trump National Golf Course was catering to Donald Trump's prejudices in favor of younger looking people instead of people older that didn't have the trim sleek physique that some of us had when we were in our teens are twenties," Cowan said.
Messerschmidt and others who didn't match up to Trump's ideas of a good appearance came to know in the scheduling, Cowan said.
"Some people testified about being taken off the schedule when Trump was there," the attorney said. "I had some managers who testified that about how they would intentionally schedule younger attractive people to work when people were going to be there."
He said the claims were backed up by other workers and managers who said Trump was all about image. In court papers, Catering Director Hayley Strozier declared, "I had witnessed Donald Trump tell managers many times while he was visiting the club that restaurant hostesses were 'not pretty enough' and that they should be fired and replaced with more attractive women."
In her testimony, Restaurant Manager Sue Kwiatkowski said, "Donald trump always wanted good looking women working at the club. I know this because he took me aside and said I want you to get some good looking hostesses here."
Cowan summed it up by saying, "My sense is that when you have not one, not two, not three, but multiple people coming forward and telling in different words essentially the same story, it happened."
We reached out to the Trump organization and did not get a response. An attorney from the case told the LA Times: "We do not engage in discrimination of any kind and have always complied with all wage laws."
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