A Ritz-Carlton club concierge claims age discrimination after being terminated for telling a celebrity guest that a young female employee thought he was handsome.

Karen Strecker, 59, claims the hotel chain violated the Fair Labor Standards Actfiled in a suit filed May 3 in federal court in New Orlean.

According to the complaint, Ritz-Carlton claimed that it fired Strecker from her position at Maison Orleans because, in November 2008, she told the celebrity that the other employee refused to check him in because the employee was nervous. The hotel told Strecker that she embarrassed the celebrity and violated his privacy and as a result, she was terminated from her position in December 2008. Strecker states that the much younger female employee who refused to check in the celebrity was not terminated.

Strecker alleges that two months before her termination she received an oral warning for an incident that involved another younger employee, who did not receive any form of reprimand. A month later, Strecker was issued a written warning for a second incident that involved two other younger employees, who did not receive any form of reprimand.

"The effect of these practices has been to deprive Ms. Strecker of equal employment opportunities by terminating her employment improperly on the basis of her age," the complaint states.

Strecker is seeking damages for past and future loss of pay, back and front pay, lost benefits, pain and suffering, mental anguish and distress, medical expenses, interest and attorney's fees.

Metairie attorney Dwan S. Hilferty is representing Strecker. Jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Ivan L.R. Lemelle is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:10cv01326

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