A Vail condo company will pay a total of $1.02 million to eight of its former housekeepers to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit. The workers, who are from Mexico, faced unwanted sexual advancements, including attempted rape, at the hands of their supervisor, Omar Quezada.
Immigrant workers are particularly vulnerable to such harassment. Quezada threatened to turn the women over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement if they refused his demands.
When two of the plaintiffs initially approached their employer Vail Run Community Resort Association about the abuse, they were met with anger and indifference and were later fired. They ultimately sued both Vail Run and its management company, Global Hospitality Resorts, with the help of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The EEOC worked with the Colorado Civil Rights Division to file suit in a U.S. District Court for Colorado.
“The partnership between EEOC and CCRD not only provides protection to all workers — regardless of national origin — but ensures that systemic issues of sexual harassment of immigrant workers will be aggressively enforced,” said Rufina A. Hernandez, director of the CCRD.
In addition to the monetary damages, the settlement requires that all Vail Run managers undergo semiannual sexual harassment training under the supervision of a Spanish-speaking monitor. All of the company’s equal employment policies will be translated into Spanish, and the victims’ employment records will reflect voluntary resignations, not terminations.
The suit also explicitly forbids the rehiring of Quezada, who was convicted of criminal extortion and unwanted sexual contact in 2014 and is currently serving time.
Photo credit: Kelsey Ray