I was honest with Vail Resorts | VailDaily.com

I was honest with Vail Resorts

Jeff Cole
Vail, CO, Colorado

I wanted to live near and work at a ski resort and, to avoid sleeping in the snow, I searched for jobs and housing online before I came out. My friend and I barely came up with enough money to get a roof over our heads and that was with three hours on the bus, to and from Leadville.

So I signed a lease, got a bus pass, paid for a post office box in Avon, and invested in clothes that are suited for ski lifts and weather at 10,200 feet.

I loved my job at the Spruce Saddle and had been working there, without incident, for almost a month when I got a call from the director of HR at Beaver Creek. She wanted to ask me some questions about my background check, which they neglected to do before I was offered the position.

I went to speak with her right away and we talked about my “rap sheet.” She thanked me repeatedly for my honesty, saying they wouldn’t have known to look if it weren’t for me putting a check in the “convictions” box, but proceeded to tell me that my criminal history is unacceptable for a Vail employee working with the public.

Apparently, because I have a couple of old charges for possession of marijuana, a public intox, and driving without a license, I am not suitable to be around the Beaver Creek guests. She admitted that her main concern was that should there be an incident, my criminal history would end up in the paper. And, although she said I would be fine in a back-of-the-house position, she did not offer me any such jobs.

I understand that Vail has a no-tolerance policy on drugs, but these charges are from my past. I would have understood if, when I applied, they had done a background check and decided not to consider me.

But after four weeks of hard work and good service, is it fair for them to fire me based on information that was available to them from the time I applied? Now, days before Christmas as I write, I find myself jobless and stuck in a climate where one cannot live outdoors (if I had to). I’ve been looking, but it appears most businesses have hired their Christmas help.

Thanks Vail, for waiting until I established myself in the mountains before you decided that I wasn’t Vail material. If Vail’s HR staff cares about people, at all, they ought to research someone’s criminal history before offering them a position. In the least, maybe Avon or Vail could open a homeless shelter for other folks who receive an unexpected holiday shaft.

Jeff Cole


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