Trial set for Aspen Skico, ex-housekeeper | AspenTimes.com

Trial set for Aspen Skico, ex-housekeeper

Aspen Skiing Co. and one of its former housekeepers are scheduled to have their day in court early next year.

A federal judge has set Jan. 11 as the jury trial date for Arcelia Rojo and her former employer, which is accused of violating the Americans With Disabilities Act when it fired her in March 2013. Rojo began work for Skico in 1991 as a housekeeper at The Little Nell and later the Sundeck restaurant.

The Carbondale resident sued Skico in the U.S. District Court of Denver in July 2014, after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which reviewed her disability- and age-discrimination complaint, granted her permission to sue.

In August, Senior District Judge Richard P. Matsch dismissed her age-discrimination claim but allowed her claim that Skico violated the Americans With Disabilities Act to stand.

Rojo's suit says she hurt her elbow when she was cleaning a shower at the five-star Little Nell hotel in 2011. Her doctor imposed physical restrictions that allowed her to continue to work, but Rojo's suit says her superiors made it difficult for her to work under the restrictions. After complaining about her work conditions, she was transferred to the Sundeck in August 2012.

"At the Sundeck restaurant, Ms. Rojo was taxed with performing a deep clean of the restaurant, despite the doctor-imposed work restrictions that prohibited her from lifting, carrying or pulling certain loads," reads part of Matsch's summary of Rojo's allegations in a pretrial order issued Oct. 30.

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After she was fired, Rojo begged to retain any type of work with Skico, which she alleges wouldn't accommodate her, and by doing so, violated the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Her suit seeks back pay, front pay and other damages.

Skico, meanwhile, claims Rojo ignored the company's directions to follow her physician's orders.

"Despite repeated performance counseling and warnings, Ms. Rojo refused to comply with Aspen's directives to limit herself to her supervisory duties and with the physician-imposed restrictions regarding her use of her previously injured arm," is how Matsch describes Skico's defense.

That's why Skico transferred her to the Sundeck, Skico has maintained. Skico ultimately fired Rojo because she wouldn't follow her doctor's orders, the company has argued in court filings.

She was 49 at the time of her termination.

rcarroll@aspentimes.com