Former employee suing Town of Breckenridge for discrimination
Ryan Summerlin August 22, 2012
A former Breckenridge employee has filed a suit against the town in federal court claiming discrimination after he was fired from a part-time position with the recreation department in the spring of 2011.
Christopher D. Watson is seeking $2 million in damages in a suit alleging discrimination based on physical disability. He claims he was dismissed after he broke his leg in a fall while instructing rock climbing for the recreation department.
In his court-filed complaint against the town, Watson stated he was later fired when he began asking questions about an alleged town policy prohibiting employees from calling 911 in the event of an emergency.
“There was an odd policy in place where employees had to call the lifeguards first and they would take the lead,” Watson stated in his complaint. “I have no idea why someone would call a lifeguard for an emergency situation. Basic first aid doesn’t amount to much.”
Watson also alleges the town created a hostile work environment prior to his dismissal.
Town of Breckenridge officials declined to comment on the alleged 911 policy or the lawsuit, saying they cannot speak on matters regarding personnel.
Watson also declined to comment.
The suit names Breckenridge Mayor John Warner, town manager Tim Gagen, assistant town manager Rick Holman and police chief Shannon Haynes as well as other individuals in the recreation, transit and human resources departments.
The town has not yet filed a response to the suit.
A planning conference to allow the parties to discuss a settlement is set for November.
In court documents, Watson states town officials told him he was being let go “due to a decrease in business for the upcoming season,” which meant “a sufficient workload would not be available to keep him busy.”
Watson states he was also terminated from a position as a transit operator with the Town of Breckenridge around the same time.
He’d been employed with the town since 2009.