July 24, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Former Beverly Hills Hotel Hostess Shares Testimony, Reveals Then-General Manager’s Character

 

The hostess did not report to Human Resources for fear that she would not be believed. (Thinkstock)
The hostess did not report to Human Resources for fear that she would not be believed. (Thinkstock)

A former hostess at the Beverly Hills Hotel’s Polo Lounge testified today that the renowned establishment’s then-general manager inappropriately touched her in the workplace numerous times, usually by walking up from behind and catching her off guard.

Wendy Giron told a Los Angeles Superior Court jury that she considered Alberto del Hoyo to have so much influence at the hotel that she never reported his alleged untoward behavior to management.

“I didn’t feel comfortable going to human resources,” Giron said. “He was the general manager and they wouldn’t believe me.”

Giron, along with one current and one former employee, sued the hotel and del Hoyo in June 2011, alleging a variety of employment violations. Del Hoyo, who retired in 2011, was the highest-ranking employee in the famed hotel, which is now owned by the Sultan of Brunei. Both the hotel and the Polo Lounge have long been famous destinations for celebrities and Hollywood power brokers.

According to Giron, she began working at the hotel’s gift shop in 2004 and within two months obtained her hostess job in the Polo Lounge. She said del Hoyo came into the Polo Lounge at various times of the day and preferred to be seated at a table once favored by the likes of Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe.

Del Hoyo directed the Polo Lounge supervisor to require that hostesses wear uniforms and shoes he preferred and demanded that they also wear makeup, Giron said.

Giron said del Hoyo often approached her from behind while she was at the hostess work station and put his hands on her upper arms in a way that also caused them to brush against her upper chest. She said he also at times placed his hands on her lower back, causing them to touch her buttocks.

It wasn’t comfortable for me as a woman,” Giron said.

She said she eventually lost count of how many times del Hoyo touched her without her consent.

“It was constant throughout the time I worked there,” Giron testified. “It just got to a point where I didn’t want to think about it anymore.”

Giron said she found out that another Polo Lounge hostess, Kelly Morales, allegedly experienced the same type of touching by del Hoyo.

“We had a pact of trying to avoid him,” she said.

Asked by her lawyer, Rob Hennig, whether del Hoyo’s alleged touching reminded her of something in her past, Giron paused for nearly a minute before saying that someone had done something similar to her when she was 6 years old.

“It’s something I carry with me,” she said. “It’s not something I forget.”

Giron said her mother did not believe her account of what happened to her as a child.

Giron, a single parent of a young daughter, said she thought she would jeopardize her job if she reported del Hoyo.

“I always felt like if I complained, I could be replaced,” she said. “I had a child to support.”

Under cross-examination, Giron said she could not recall if she laughed and congratulated Morales outside the courtroom after Morales’ testimony last week. She also said she never told her former boyfriend, who also is her father’s daughter, during their 3 1/2-year cohabitation that del Hoyo was allegedly abusing her.

“We had a strained relationship from the beginning,” Giron said. “We were only together because of our child.”

Giron said she left the hotel in early 2010 and is now a full-time student.

The trial also deals with the employment claims of former director Tim Dupree and the Polo Lounge’s current sommelier, Nino O’Brien. Both allege discrimination.

Morales and the hotel settled her claims before trial.

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