Downhill Run: Vail Resort Condo Sued for Sexual Harassment of Mexican Female Employees

About the worst thing an employer can do when alerted to possible sexual harassment in the workforce is not take the allegations seriously. That’s a sure-fire ticket to liability under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Apparently that’s what happened at Vail Run Resort Community Association, Inc., a condominium complex in Vail, Colo. In a just-filed lawsuit against the complex and its management company Global Hospitality Resorts, Inc., the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleged that management did nothing in response to alleged sexual harassment by a male housekeeper of female Mexican employees, including attempted rape.

According to EEOC’s suit, Omar Quezada, the housekeeping manager, repeatedly spoke about sex, propositioned female employees, showed them graphic 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.

Workers who complained to management were met with anger and indifference, EEOC said. EEOC said the companies never undertook an internal investigation after the complaints, made no effort to reduce Quezada’s supervisorial powers, and did not discipline Quezada. Two victims were finally forced to go to the police for help, and both of these women were later fired. In 2013, an Eagle County jury found Quezada was guilty of unlawful sexual contact and felony extortion, and Quezada pled guilty to additional similar charges after the jury verdict.

So to court the defendants go, accused of sexual harassment, national origin discrimination, and retaliation under Title VII.

Read more about the lawsuit.

 

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