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Deborah Smith, a former night manager of the SkyWater Restaurant at the Hilton Minneapolis, has filed a lawsuit alleging she was fired for walking in on an orgy involving upper managers in December 2007.

According to the lawsuit, Smith opened the door to a banquet room at the Hilton and discovered “various Hilton executives inebriated and ... on top of a table engaging in sexual activity.” After Smith walked away, beverage manager James Vennewitz “said she would be fired, and he would make sure of it,” the lawsuit says.

Smith reported the incident to HR, which set off a “campaign of harassment and retaliation” that culminated in her termination.

The hotel faces a second lawsuit from cocktail server April Bezdichek, who alleges Vennewitz duped her into coming to the “party” under false pretenses. When she arrived, he pulled her into his lap and assaulted her, her lawsuit says. She claims retaliation, negligent supervision and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Bezdichek’s lawsuit claims hotel management was aware of sexually inappropriate conduct by Vennewitz before the orgy incident. A third former employee, bartender Harley Gayle, has also filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the company.

Hilton has denied the charges.

 

 

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