News for the Hospitality Executive
|By Christopher Smart, The Salt Lake Tribune
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Nov. 26, 2003 - Attorneys for American Skiing Company have asked a federal judge to dismiss, with prejudice, a lawsuit filed by a former manager at its Summit County Canyons resort who alleged that company officials recruited undocumented Latino workers and then discriminated against them in the workplace.
In a 10-page answer and counterclaim, resort officials denied allegations brought by Mario Escobar, the former director of housekeeping at The Canyons. Among other things, Escobar alleged that non-English-speaking Latino workers were recruited illegally because company officials believed they could hire them for lower wages than English-speaking workers.
Christie Babalis, the assistant general counsel for American Skiing Inc., had denied the allegations in a Nov. 15 Salt Lake Tribune story. In its answer to Escobar's complaint, American Skiing and The Canyons further deny Escobar's allegations, including that company officials used housekeeping employees for personal errands and work at their homes.
American Skiing contends that it was Escobar who used housekeeping employees for unwarranted activities. "On numerous occasions, Escobar used housekeeping staff employed by American Skiing Company to clean Escobar's personal residence and other locations for plaintiff's benefit and to the injury of American Skiing Company," the counterclaim states.
Specifically, the ski company's response says that on Sept. 21, Escobar directed housekeeping employees to work at Club Suede at Kimball Junction. "Escobar engaged in the foregoing conduct surreptitiously without the knowledge, consent or approval of American Skiing Company."
In an interview, however, Escobar said American Skiing officials underwrote an employee party at Club Suede.
"We had talked them into doing something nice for the Hispanic employees," Escobar said.
"When it came time for the lawsuit, this is the only thing they could come up with."
Escobar added that he has had Canyons employees at his residence on numerous occasions for social reasons only.
"I have many friends who work there."
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