Donna Domino, Daily Journal Staff Writer

Daily JournalSan Francisco Daily Journal

Donna Domino, Daily Journal Staff Writer

February 16, 2006

Marriott International is the target of two employee lawsuits, one accusing the chain of violating San Francisco minimum-wage law and the other of discriminating against older sales managers seeking promotions ... Marriott is also the subject of a discrimination suit filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, an expansion of a case originally filed in 2004 by sales managers in Newport Beach. The three managers are in their 60's and said they were denied promotions by the same executive Rick Owen, the company's Western vice president, in favor of younger applicants. Roger-Vasselin v. Marriott International, CV-04027.

Plaintiff Victoria Roger-Vasselin, of San Francisco, 63, who works as a regional membership executive at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco, said Owen told her when she sought a management position in Arizona in 2000 that "you can't take that position, it takes a lot of energy to run a team of that size. Someone younger would be good for that position - not you." He also advised her that "complacency comes with age," according to the suit.

Another plaintiff, Kenneth Arrick, a former Newport Beach sales executive, was 64 when he says Owen put him on a "do not promote" list and said he was ostracized when he complained.

Richard Kittner, a former Newport Beach sales executive, was 60 when he was told by Owen that older workers should stay settled and not move around too much" when he applied for position in Palm Desert, according to the suit. Owen also told him that older workers "complain more and are difficult to manage," the suit said.

"I think Marriott has a pattern and practice of widespread discrimination of all different kinds of employees as evidenced in the two simultaneous suits." said plaintiff's attorney Kelly Armstrong of San Francisco's Armstrong law firm.

Trial has been set for June.