Lawsuit against Vail Resorts alleges federal, state labor law violations
Suit filed in U.S. District Court seeks class action status
A lawsuit filed against Vail Resorts on behalf of three employees is seeking class action status and alleges the company has repeatedly violated federal labor laws as well as state labor laws in Colorado, California, Utah, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Washington, New York, Vermont and Michigan.
The lawsuit was filed Dec. 3 in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado on behalf of Randy Dean Quint, John Linn and Mark Molina. It seeks class action status for eligible current and former employees who worked for Vail Resorts over the past three years.
“Vail Resorts has exploited plaintiffs and thousands of other seasonal employees in violation of federal and state labor laws for years, and these egregious practices continue to the present,” states the lawsuit, filed by California-based attorneys Edward P. Dietrich and Benjamin Galdston. “This action seeks to hold Vail Resorts responsible for its misconduct, fairly compensate plaintiffs and other similarly situated current and former Vail Resorts employees for damages preliminarily estimated to total more than $100 million.”
Dietrich and Galdston declined to comment on the lawsuit. Vail Resorts did not respond to requests for comment.
The lawsuit states that while Vail Resorts has repeatedly touted its above-market hourly wages, it “willfully and systematically fails to pay its hourly employees for all hours worked at the hourly wage specified in employment agreements.”
It alleges that ski and snowboard instructors and other employees, including ticket scanners and lift operators, are to various degrees not fully paid for their entire shifts, for “off the clock” work Vail Resorts requires or accepts, for some types of training, for travel and dressing time, or for the use, purchase or maintenance of their ski and snowboard equipment or their cellphones.
“All told, Vail Resorts fails to pay snow sports instructors for more than 2.5 hours of work per day in violation of the the (Fair Labor Standards Act) and applicable state law,” the lawsuit alleges.
According to the 167-page lawsuit, Quint has worked as a seasonal Vail Resorts employee and full-time snow sport instructor for seven years at Beaver Creek Resort. The lawsuit estimates he worked 470 hours that he was not paid for from December 2017 to December 2019, as well as 422 hours of unpaid overtime.
Linn — also a resident of Colorado who has worked as a part-time and full-time snow sports instructor at Beaver Creek — worked 213 hours he was not paid for from December 2017 through March 2020, as well as 130 hours of unpaid overtime, according to the lawsuit.
“Vail Resorts knowingly failed to compensate plaintiffs and thousands of other similarly situated employees at their relevant hourly rate for all time worked. Vail Resorts also knowingly failed to reimburse plaintiffs and others similarly situated for costs associated with their smartphones and tools of the trade used in performance of their jobs and for the benefit of Vail Resorts. In violation of federal and state laws, Vail Resorts has illegally reaped millions of dollars at the expense of plaintiffs and other class members,” the lawsuit states.
Tom Lotshaw can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.