Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach employees are getting laid off at the end of the month, but all will have the chance to stay on at the newly named Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa.
The Ritz-Carlton notified the state Department of Economic Opportunity last week that it would lay off 452 workers. The layoffs are a result of the on-going legal battle between hotel owner RC/PB Inc. and management companies Marriott International Inc. and Avendra Inc.
“While Ritz-Carlton strongly disagrees with the owner’s position, we have no choice but to exit the hotel at midnight on June 30, 2013,” Ritz-Carlton General Manager Michael King said in a letter.
Hotel owner RC/PB, which bought the 22-year-old Ritz in 2003, stated last week that it would try to keep on most of the employees when it assumes control July 1. They have already been offered their jobs at existing pay and benefits including tenure and sick days, according to a statement.
“Over the last week we have held a total of five employee town hall meetings with question and answer sessions to assure them that they will be able to keep their positions,” the company stated. “We look forward to working with this exceptional group of employees to build a new and successful future.”
Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa will be a part of the Preferred Hotel Group, which has 15 five-star, five-diamond resorts under its management. There will be no break in operations, according to an email statement from the owner’s public relations firm.
The Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach is one of three five-star, five-diamond hotels on the island, and the owner has stated its intent in continuing that distinction, but tourism industry watchers are concerned about the loss of the Ritz-Carlton name for such a luxury destination.
King said in his letter that the Ritz-Carlton tried to extend the transition period but was refused by the owner. The hotel chain is not giving laid-off workers any “bumping” privileges for jobs at other Ritz-Carlton properties.
Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. has countersued for breach of contract, according to a statement last week.