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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Vail Run Resort Community Association, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Colorado

February 11, 2016

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Plaintiff,
v.
VAIL RUN RESORT COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION, INC. d/b/a VAIL RUN RESORT; and GLOBAL HOSPITALITY RESORTS, INC., Defendants. MARIA LUISA BALTAZAR BENITEZ; MARIBEL SOTO PEREZ; MANUELA SINALOA RASCON; and SERGIO CARREON RAMIREZ, Plaintiffs/Intervenors,

CONSENT DECREE

I. RECITALS

1. This matter was instituted by Plaintiff, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("Commission" or "Plaintiff or "EEOC"), an agency of the United States government, alleging that Defendants Vail Run Resort Community Association, Inc. and Global Hospitality Resorts, Inc. (collectively "Defendants" or "Vail Run") violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by subjecting Maribel Soto Perez, Maria Luisa Baltazar Benitez, and a class of other aggrieved individuals (collectively the "Aggrieved Individual(s)") to a hostile work environment because of sex and/or national origin, including but not limited to, sexually suggestive comments, gestures, questions, and jokes, pornographic pictures, and unwelcome physical contact and assault because of sex, female. The Commission further alleges that Maribel Soto Perez, Maria Luisa Baltazar Benitez, and other aggrieved individuals opposed what they reasonably believed were unlawful discriminatory employment practices based on sex and national origin, and were retaliated against, including harassed, disciplined, and discharged.

2. The Parties to this Decree are the Plaintiff EEOC, Interveners Maribel Soto Perez, Maria Luisa Baltazar Benitez, Manuela Sinaloa Rascon, and Sergio Carreon, and the Defendants Vail Run Resort Community Association, Inc. and Global Hospitality Resorts, Inc.

3. Defendants have consistently denied the EEOC and the Interveners' allegations and deny any violation of law whatsoever. Defendants affirmatively state that they are entering into this Consent Decree solely to avoid the cost and disruption of litigation. It is understood and agreed that this Consent Decree is for the compromise of disputed claims and is not to be construed as or deemed to be an admission of, any liability, fault, or responsibility on the part of Defendants including but not limited to, any admission that these two Defendants are functioning as an integrated enterprise.

4. The Parties desiring to settle this action by an appropriate Consent Decree ("Decree")., agree to the jurisdiction of this Court over the Parties and the subject matter of this action, and agree to the power of this Court to enter a Consent Decree enforceable against Defendants.

5. As to the issues resolved, this Decree is final and binding upon the Parties and their successors and assigns.

6. For the purpose of amicably resolving disputed claims, the Parties jointly request this Court to adjudge as follows:

IT IS ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED AS FOLLOWS:

II. JURISDICTION

7. The Parties stipulate to the jurisdiction of the Court over the Parties and subject matter of this action and have waived the entry of findings of fact and conclusions of law.

III. TERM AND SCOPE

8. Term: The duration of this Decree shall be five (5) years from the date of signing by the Court.

9. Scope: Except as otherwise stated herein, the terms of this Decree shall apply to all of Vail Run and Global Hospitality's facilities in Colorado and all of their employees in Colorado, including, but not limited to those working at Vail Run Resort. The terms of the Decree will also apply to any additional facilities that Vail Run or Global Hospitality may begin to manage during the five (5) year term of the Decree subject to the limitations set forth in paragraph 40.9 herein.

IV. ISSUES RESOLVED

10. This Decree resolves the claims alleged in the above-captioned lawsuit, and constitutes a complete resolution of all of the Commission's claims of unlawful employment practices under Title VII that arise from Charges of Discrimination Numbers 32A-2013-00175 and 32A-2013-00289 filed by Maria Luisa Baltazar Benitez and Maribel Soto Perez. The Lawsuit is resolved consistent with the terms of this Decree and the Parties' stipulation requesting that the Court approve this Decree.

11. Nothing in this Decree shall be construed to preclude EEOC from bringing suit to enforce this Decree. Neither does this Decree preclude EEOC from filing lawsuits based on charges not resolved in this Decree.

12. Intervenors and Defendants agree that this Decree fairly resolves the issues alleged by Intervenors and constitutes a complete resolution of Intervenors' claims.

13. Defendants and their officers, agents, employees, successors, and all other persons in active concert or participation with any of them will not interfere with the relief herein ordered, but shall cooperate in the implementation of this Decree.

V. MONETARY RELIEF

14. Judgment is hereby entered against Vail Run and Global Hospitality in the amount of $1, 020, 000.

15. Defendants will not condition the receipt of individual relief upon an Aggrieved Individual's (as identified on Ex. A hereto) agreement to: (a) maintain as confidential the terms of this Decree or the facts of the case; (b) waive her statutory right to file a charge with any federal or state anti-discrimination agency; or (c) promise not to reapply for a position at any of Defendants' facilities.

16. To resolve these claims, Vail Run and Global Hospitality shall pay a total of $1, 020, 000 to be apportioned among the Aggrieved Individuals identified in Exhibit A, in amounts to be determined by the EEOC, and to account for the attorneys' fees for Rathod j Mohamedbhai LLC. Payment to the Aggrieved Individual will be designated as "compensatory damages" and shall be reported on IRS Form 1099 and shall not be subject to withholdings.

17.1. EEOC Discretion to Allocate Relief. EEOC retains the sole discretion to determine allocations of monetary relief to Aggrieved Individuals pursuant to this Decree.

17.2. Releases, In order to receive a settlement payment pursuant to this Decree, the Aggrieved Individuals must sign a Release in the form attached as Exhibit B.

17.3. Transmittal of Payments - Within twenty-four (24) hours of entry of the decree, Defendants will issue a check or money order to each Aggrieved Individual and to RATHOD | MOHAMEDBHAI LLC at addresses provided by the EEOC.

17.4. Copy of Checks or Money Orders to EEOC. Within three (3) business days after payments are made to the payees, Defendants shall submit to EEOC a copy of the payments issued.

VI. OTHER INDIVIDUAL RELIEF

18. Expungement of Personnel Files. Defendants shall expunge from the Aggrieved Individuals' personnel files (a) any and all references to the charges of discrimination filed against Defendants that formed the basis of this action; (b) any and all references to the allegations of discrimination filed against Defendants that formed the basis of this action; (c) any and all references to the Aggrieved Individuals' participation in this action; (d) any and all poor evaluations or discipline. The records will be placed in a sealed box that will be maintained at Vail Run. Vail Run may unseal the box only: 1) If any Defendant or related party is named as a party in a lawsuit and the records are relevant to the Party's defense of the lawsuit; or 2) upon an order of a court.

19. References. Defendants agree that whenever a prospective employer requests a reference relating to any Aggrieved Individual, Defendants shall provide a positive reference consistent with the letter of reference in the form attached as Exhibit C. If a written reference is requested, Defendants shall provide a letter of reference in the form attached as Exhibit C.

20. Convert Termination to Resignation. To the extent Defendants previously terminated an Aggrieved Individual, Defendants shall expunge the termination from their records and shall ensure that all of Defendants' records reflect that the individual voluntarily resigned.

21. Letters of Regret. Within ten (10) business days after entry of this Decree, Vail Run Resorts shall provide a letter of regret to each Aggrieved Individual on company letterhead in the form attached as Exhibit D or alternatively, a similar letter of their own drafting, so long as it receives pre-approval from the EEOC.

VII. EQUITABLE RELIEF

A. Injunctive Relief

22. Defendants, their officers, agents, successors, and other persons in active concert or participation with them, are permanently enjoined from engaging in any employment practice which discriminates on the basis of sex and national origin, including but not limited to sexual and national origin harassment.

23. Defendants, their officers, agents, successors, and other persons in active concert or participation with them, are permanently enjoined from engaging in reprisal or retaliation of any kind against any person because of such person's opposition to any practice made unlawful under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended or participation in any related proceeding. Defendants shall not retaliate against a person because such person brings an internal complaint of discrimination with the Defendants; because such person files or causes to be filed a charge of discrimination with the police, CCRD, EEOC or any other agency charged with the investigation of employment discrimination complaints, or whose statements serve as the basis of a charge; or because such person testifies or participates in the investigation or prosecution of an alleged violation of Title VII. Defendants shall not retaliate in any manner against a person identified as witnesses or who assists in the investigation of a discrimination complaint.

B. EEO Policy and Record-Retention Review

24. Within ninety (90) days of the entry of this Decree, the Defendants shall, in consultation with an outside consultant experienced in the area of employment discrimination law ("Consultant"), review its existing EEO policies to conform to the law and revise, if necessary.

25. The written EEO policies must be in both English and Spanish, and must include at a minimum:

25.1. A commitment to preventing unlawful sex and national origin discrimination, including but not limited to sexual harassment and harassment based on national origin.

25.2. A commitment to preventing retaliation;

25.3. A clear and complete definition of harassment based on sex, national origin, and retaliation;

25.4. A statement that discrimination based on sex or national origin, including but not limited to sexual and national origin harassment, and retaliation is prohibited and will not be tolerated;

25.5. A encouragement of persons who believe they have been discriminated or retaliated against to report such concerns;

25.6. The identification of specific individuals, with telephone numbers, to whom employees can report their concerns about discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, with more than one alternative person provided should the complainant feel unable to complain to one of the specific individuals;

25.7. A clear explanation of the steps an employee must take to report discrimination or retaliation, which must include the options of complaining orally and cannot require a written complaint;

25.8. A description of the steps any supervisor or manager who receives a complaint of discrimination, or otherwise comes to have knowledge of such, must take once the supervisor or manager has such notice;

25.9. An assurance that Defendants will investigate allegations of any activity of alleged unlawful discrimination and that such investigation will be prompt, fair, and reasonable, and conducted by a neutral investigator, specifically trained in receiving, processing, and investigating allegations of discrimination;

25.10. An assurance that, if a complaint is determined to have merit, appropriate corrective action will be taken by Defendants to make victims whole and to eradicate the unlawful conduct within its workforce;

25.11. A description of the consequences, up to and including termination, that will be imposed upon violators of Defendants' anti-discrimination policies;

25.12. A promise of reasonable confidentiality for persons who report unlawful discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation, or who participate in an investigation into allegations of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation; and

25.13. An assurance of non-retaliation for persons who report unlawful discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation, and for witnesses who provide testimony or assistance in the investigation(s) of such ...


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