Ski Resorts 'Pay the Price' for Discriminating Against Christians

Posted: June 22, 200910:25 pm Eastern

© 2009 WorldNetDaily

The corporation that runs Vail and Keystone ski areas in Colorado, as well as a multitude of other properties, has agreed to pay $80,000 to settle a complaint brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charging it discriminated on the basis of a woman's Christianity.

According to the federal agency, the company also will train employees on how to operate a company without such actions.

The lawsuit says Lisa Marie Cornwell was working as an emergency services supervisor at the Keystone Resort.

But she was subjected to harassment based on her Christian religion and her sex, denied religious accommodation and treated less favorably than her male colleagues, the EEOC said.

The claim accused Cornwell's supervisor, Rick Garcia, of ordering her and another Christian employee to refrain from even discussing their Christian beliefs with one another while at work.

Garcia also would not allow them to listen to Christian music while on duty, because it might offend other employees. But he had no similar restrictions on music with profanity or lyrics promoting violence against women, which were offensive to Cornwell, the claim said.

The complaint said additionally Garcia ridiculed Cornwell for asking for a scheduling accommodation so she could attend her preferred religious services and denied her requests while scheduling lower ranking officers for the shifts she requested. Also, Garcia created and tolerated a sexually hostile work environment in which he and other male employees made offensive sexual comments and jokes in the workplace, the EEOC alleged.

Cornwell was dismissed after complaining to the company management.

The EEOC noted Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires that employers provide reasonable accommodation for the religious practices and beliefs of employees. According to the EEOC, Cornwell could have been scheduled so that she could attend her religious services, without any cost or disruption to Vail's business operations, and the company was required by law to make such accommodation. Also, Title VII prohibits workplace harassment based on religion or gender.

"The environment in this case, where the employee was not only flatly denied accommodation, but also ridiculed for even asking, is unacceptable," emphasized Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill of the EEOC's Phoenix District Office, whose jurisdiction includes Colorado.

"Claims of religious discrimination have increased by more than 80 percent in the last 10 years," said Denver Field Director Nancy Sienko.