Two prominent Colorado ski resorts, Keystone and Vail, have been ordered to pay $80,000 to a claimant named Lisa Cornwell, pursuant to charges of religious discrimination and sexual harassment at the workplace. Ms. Cornwell, represented by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), had alleged that her supervisor at Keystone had harassed her based both on her religious practices/beliefs and her gender. Her boss, Rick Garcia, did not allow Ms. Cornwell to talk about her religion or listen to religious music at work; at the same time, Mr. Garcia did allow other workers to listen to music that contained profanities and lyrics that degraded women, which made Ms. Cornwell uncomfortable. In addition, the EEOC complaint against the Vail Corporation and Keystone Resort alleged that Ms. Cornwell had to tolerate untoward sexual jokes and had unfairly been denied shift priorities. Furthermore, when Ms. Cornwell contacted the EEOC about the abuse she had been receiving, Mr. Garcia terminated her in retaliation.
The EEOC alleged that the Vail Corporation and Keystone Resort had violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, which mandates that employers accommodate the religious beliefs of their workers and which outlaws gender discrimination and retaliation at the workplace. The EEOC had attempted to reach an out of court settlement with Vail, but when negotiations broke down, the EEOC took the matter to trial. The Denver Field Director of the federal agency noted that religious discrimination claims like Ms. Cornwell’s have been increasing over the past decade – up 80% from the late 1990s.
If you have encountered religious discrimination, gender harassment, retaliation, or other unfair workplace conditions, the law firm of Joseph & Kirschenbaum LLP may be able to assist you. Peruse our website, or contact us either via email or phone to set up a confidential discussion about your matter.