Vail Run Community Resort Association, Inc., a condominium complex in Vail, Colorado, will pay $1,020,000 as part of the settlement of a sexual harassment, national origin discrimination and retaliation lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The EEOC’s lawsuit charged that Vail Run Resort violated federal law by allowing a housekeeping manager, Omar Quezada, to sexually harass Mexican female employees, including attempted rape. The EEOC further alleged the defendants retaliated against men and women who complained about the harassment to management and the owner.
According to the EEOC’s suit, Quezada repeatedly spoke about sex, propositioned female employees, showed them graphic sexual pictures on his phone and groped and physically assaulted his victims, including attempted rape. Quezada targeted Mexican immigrants who were particularly vulnerable, threatening them with job loss and deportation if they refused his advances, complained about him, or went to the police.
When workers nevertheless complained to management, they were met with anger and indifference, according to the EEOC allegations. The EEOC said William Fleischer, Vail Run’s general manager, and the companies never undertook an internal investigation after the complaints, made no effort to reduce Quezada’s supervisorial powers, and refused to discipline him.
In addition to requiring the company to pay monetary damages to the former employees, the consent decree settling the suit provides for a Spanish-speaking monitor for up to five years to oversee the decree’s implementation, which includes substantial semi-annual training for managers on sexual harassment and the responsibilities of managers once a report of sexual harassment is made. The monitor will also routinely interview employees to determine if any discrimination exists and review all employee complaints of discrimination or harassment. The decree also requires Vail Run Resorts to translate its equal employment opportunity policies into Spanish and provide semi-annual reports to the EEOC identifying complaints of retaliation or discrimination. The rehiring of Quezada is also expressly prohibited.
EEOC General Counsel P. David Lopez said, “This is the latest in a series of enforcement efforts demonstrating the Commission’s resolve to enforce the anti-discrimination laws on behalf of all who live in this country and work for an employer covered by the law. This includes those living and working in the shadows who are particularly vulnerable to discrimination. It is increasingly important to protect these socially marginalized communities against discrimination, extortion and exploitation.”