A former Beaver Run Resort employee is suing the company for discrimination, alleging his supervisor treated him unfairly and used racial slurs in the work place, according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court.
Abel Campos, the resort's former sous chef, was fired in April 2011 after he says he complained to several levels of management about discriminatory behavior by executive chef Jeremy Caprari.
Campos, a U.S. citizen of Mexican origin, claims Caprari required him to work upwards of 70 or 80 hours a week and used derogatory words in the kitchen.
Beaver Run denies Campos' claims, according to documents filed with the courts.
"(The) Plaintiff was disciplined on multiple occasions, suspended and ultimately terminated for his misconduct," the resort's written response to the complaint states. "If Plaintiff was damaged as he alleges, his damages were caused by his own acts or the acts of those other than Defendant or its agents."
Campos' attorney, Kent Eichstadt, declined to comment for this story.
Beaver Run executives could not be immediately reached for comment.
Campos is seeking almost $1 million in damages, the maximum allowable under Colorado law, and a written apology from the resort, according to court documents. The defense holds Campos has no claim to damages.
The lawsuit focuses primarily on a series of events that began after Caprari, who is white, was hired at Beaver Run in 2010. Campos claims Caprari began requiring him to work longer hours and placed all responsibility on him to complete tasks that had previously been shared by the kitchen staff, dramatically increasing his workload. He also alleges Caprari retaliated against him - increasing his workload, calling him obscene names to other cooks in the kitchen and writing him up three times in a two-month period - after Campos complained about a derogatory comment he heard the head chef make to another Latino cook. According to Campos, he had never been subject to disciplinary action before, though he'd worked for the company for 18 months. When Campos complained to upper management about the treatment, he was told if he didn't like it he could leave, the complaint states.
But the defense holds Campos was terminated after receiving written warnings for customer-service related incidents. He was fired after the second incident, during which he refused to help prepare food for an event mistakenly left off the schedule, Beaver Run Resort representatives allege in court documents.
Bridge Hospitality, which operates Beaver Run Resort and is the defendant named in the suit, claims to be an equal opportunity employer with strict policies prohibiting harassment, discrimination and retaliation, according to court documents.
In a 2010 interview with the Summit Daily News, Caprari said he enjoyed working for Beaver Run because he was given space to empower his staff and encourage their creativity.
"They really let me be me here," he said at the time. "I have that authority here where I can run my own show. It really is an enjoyable place to teach, to be creative and to impress a lot of people."
The Summit Daily was unable to confirm whether Caprari was still employed at Beaver Run. At press time, he was still listed as the executive chef on the resort's website.
The lawsuit currently appears on track to go to trial.
Beaver Run is a large resort and conference center located at the base of Peak 9 at Breckenridge Ski Resort.