Frenchman Fabrice Casteran could not take it any more.
Enrolled in a MBA program at Vatel International Business School, one of those for-profit colleges, he was supposed to be working at a paid hotel and hospitality internship in a management position. Instead he found himself scrubbing filthy dishes and taking out the trash at a Hyatt near Palm Springs.
As a result, claims Casteran's mother in a lawsuit against Vatel and Hyatt, 25-year-old Fabrice Casteran was too depressed to go on, so he took his own life on the lonely road to Las Vegas.
According to the lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Casteran had earned a bachelor's degree from Vatel's campus in France and was recruited to the L.A. branch to study business management. But soon, the stress began to mount.
For starters, claims Casteran's mother, Pilar, Vatel packed six or more students into a single apartment, where several of them had to sleep on the floor or on air-mattresses. Casteran paid about $850 a month "for the privilege of sharing floor space," the lawsuit states.
Next, Casteran discovered that his internship would not be at a "prestigious Los Angeles hotel," but at the Hyatt in Indian Wells, more than 120 miles east of his apartment. Casteran had to splurge for a car, claims his mother, "which was a source of stress."
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But the biggest problem, according to Pilar Casteran, was that her son was not placed in a management position, as were his fellow MBA students. Instead, Casteran worked long hours as a server, dishwasher and trash collector.
Upset, Casteran voiced his complaints to numerous supervisors at Hyatt and Vatel, but no one would help, claims his mother. For months, "his frustration and humiliation increas[ed] each day," she states.
Until finally Casteran killed himself.
Casteran's mother is suing Vatel and Hyatt for wrongful death, claiming "a suicide was foreseeable under the circumstances" and that Casteran was the victim of a "scheme to obtain cheap labor."