‘Pennies on the dollar’: Vail Resorts employees organize settlement opt-out movement
'Compensation offered is grossly insufficient' says an organizer who started a website to encourage workers at Vail Resorts properties, like Breckenridge and Keystone, to opt out of settlement to pursue future legal action
By now, approximately 100,000 Vail Resorts current and former employees have likely received “an email, two text messages, and a large envelope by mail from nine attorneys,” writes the creator of ResortSettlementOptout.com.
The site’s creator, who reportedly is an hourly employee from a Vail Resort property in California who otherwise wishes to remain anonymous, has a message for anyone who received the envelope, which contains a settlement offer from Vail Resorts.
“These attorneys urge you to opt-in to the settlement that they negotiated in the class action lawsuit Hamilton v. Vail … What happens when you opt-in? You get about $0.05 for every $1.00 Vail should have paid you. The attorneys get paid $4,366,666.67. And Vail laughs all the way to its next annual meeting, noting that it disposed of a potential cost of over $100,000,000 for $13,100,000,” the letter on the site’s homepage states.
‘Pennies on the dollar’
ResortSettlementOptout.com launched on Sunday and is meant to let Vail Resorts employees know they have the option not to take the “pennies on the dollar” offer being made to them on ResortSettlement.com, a website set up by the attorneys who have negotiated the settlement in Hamilton v. Vail.
“Even if only a few thousand of us opt-out, Vail will get the message,” ResortSettlementOptout.com states.
The writer allegedly received an offer of less than $100 on an estimated $2,000 in unpaid wages alleged by the plaintiffs attorneys, who claimed $108,000,000 in total damages for the 100,000 employees in the class before settling for 7.2% of that amount after fees and costs.
“It is not fair for us to get 7.2% of what the attorneys claimed we were owed while they collect millions,” ResortSettlementOptout.com states. “They conveniently arranged for $4,366,666.67 in fees and $50,000 more in cost reimbursement for their services.”
By opting out of Hamilton v. Vail, employees retain their right to pursue legal action against Vail Resorts in other cases.
“We do not comment on settlement details, and Vail Resorts believes the settlement is appropriate and fair,” Jamie Alvarez, director of corporate communications for Vail Resorts, said in a written statement provided to the Vail Daily in early October.
One such case is Quint v. Vail, a similar effort to Hamilton v. Vail, currently being pursued in Colorado. The Hamilton v. Vail case is taking place in California but cites violations of state labor laws in 16 different states where Vail Resorts operates. In total, there are 33 different violations alleged, including failure to pay for all hours worked and failure to pay overtime wages.
“If you opt-in to this case, you cannot later join Quint v. Vail,” ResortSettlementOptout.com states. “The settlement notice omits the fact that you may have another option if you opt-out. You might be able to join a case (Quint v. Vail) that is pending in a Federal Court in Colorado where Vail Resorts is headquartered.”
The opt-out effort could result in a dissolving of the settlement if 5% of the class opts out.
“If that happens, either these attorneys can start working for a living and negotiate a better settlement or they can drop their lawsuit,” ResortSettlementOptout.com states. “Maybe the Colorado attorneys can do a better job for us.”
This story is from VailDaily.com.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.
Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.
Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.