The group of Jamaican nationals hired to work at the ultra-exclusive Yellowstone Club in Montana who sued the resort claiming that they had been cheated out of tips and other compensation are scheduled to enter mediated settlement talks in Missoula on Wednesday, court records said. The class-action suit was filed in September 2018 on behalf of Jamaicans who worked at the club with H-2B visas in the winter of 2017-2018 and alleges civil racketeering, racial discrimination, failure to pay required wages, fraud, and other claims.
Instead of getting their expected generous pay-packet, the Jamaicans “found themselves jointly employed by a temp-staffing firm from Georgia, robbed of their tips and service charges, and with deductions taken from their pay that they never agreed to,” according to the complaint filed Thursday in federal court in Butte, Montana.
The Jamaicans also allege they were treated worse than other workers because they’re black. The group, which is represented by an advocacy group called Towards Justice, also filed a complaint with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Cooks, who prepared meals for Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Mark Zuckerberg, were supposed to receive a percentage of the revenue for all food prepared in the kitchen and were told they would receive tips up to $600 per night. Black Jamaican cooks on visas didn’t receive this compensation while other cooks did, according to the complaint. When one Jamaican server complained about his compensation, a human resources employee of defendant Hospitality Staffing Solutions informed him “he could always be ‘taken back to Jamaica,’” according to the complaint.
The Yellowstone Club, also Yellowstone Ski Resort, is a private residential club, ski resort, and golf resort located in the state of Montana. The Rocky Mountain ski and golf club is located in eastern Madison County, just west of Big Sky, Montana, south of Bozeman and northwest of Yellowstone National Park. Membership reportedly costs a minimum of $250,000 to join, plus the cost of a $5 million to $35 million for a mountainside home, plus annual dues of about $20,000. To maintain its exclusivity, membership is capped at just over 800 plus members.