Judge rules in fired Aspen Skiing Co. housekeeper’s suit | AspenTimes.com

Judge rules in fired Aspen Skiing Co. housekeeper’s suit

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times

A federal judge has thrown out a housekeeper’s age-discrimination claim against Aspen Skiing Co., but her charge that The Little Nell and Sundeck restaurant’s owner violated the Americans With Disabilities Act still stands.

Records in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, where Arcelia Rojo is suing Skico, show that Senior District Judge Richard P. Matsch dismissed the age-discrimination claim Thursday following a 35-minute hearing in Denver.

Rojo’s attorney, Ted Hess of Glenwood Springs, and Skico lawyer Mark Wiletsky of Boulder didn’t return phone messages seeking comment about the ruling.

The judge’s order comes more than a year after Rojo, of Carbondale, sued Skico on allegations that it fired her because of her age and a nagging physical injury. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, run by the U.S. government and charged with enforcing civil-rights laws regarding discrimination in the workplace, granted Rojo permission to sue after reviewing her complaint in July 2013.

Rojo worked as a housekeeper at The Little Nell starting in 1991. She hurt her elbow in January 2011 while cleaning a shower at the hotel, the suit alleges. She continued to work, despite the injury, but with certain doctor-imposed restrictions, her suit says. But Rojo’s supervisor led a “campaign of harassment” against her, including badgering her and making it “impossible” for her to work under the doctor’s restrictions, the suit says. She was transferred to the Sundeck in August 2012 after she complained about The Little Nell’s work conditions, the suit says, before being fired in March 2013. She was 49 at the time.

Skico has denied the allegations and filed a motion June 1 asking the judge to make a ruling on the two claims. Skico’s motion said Rojo had “no evidence to suggest that her age or her alleged disability played any role whatsoever in (Skico’s) decision to terminate her employment, or that (Skico’s) legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for discharging her are pretextual.”

Skico also claims Rojo’s supervisors asked her to follow the doctor’s work restrictions, but she defied those orders. Also, she had a pattern of performance deficiencies and was disrespectful toward her supervisors, Skico contends.

The judge’s ruling indicates that Rojo’s age did not play a part in her termination, but he allowed the ADA claim — which relates to her elbow injury — to survive.