Hamilton v. Heavenly Valley, a case in which employees of Vail Resorts sought action against the management company for illegal labor practices, was resolved on Friday, August 19th, after Judge Michael McLaughlin granted final approval for the offered settlement, according to Vail Daily. As a result, the company will pay $13 million to attorneys and more than 100,000 individual workers involved in the case.
This case resolves 4 other lawsuit threats surrounding illegal labor practices that had been brought up over recent years with Vail, though objectors continue to harshly criticize the final settlement. Specifically, criticisms surround how the settlement is set to be distributed, with $4 million already going to attorneys. Bryan Griffith, attorney and ski instructor at a Vail owned resort in Ohio, claims he was only offered $7, and when he questioned how that number was decided upon, he was denied answers.
“I continue to dispute that that amount that was calculated must be based upon some inaccurate information, but because no information was provided to any potential class member about how those numbers were calculated, we don’t have any possible way of knowing if it’s anywhere close to a fair settlement.” – Bryan Griffith, according to Vail Daily
According to Vail Resorts’ Attorney Evan R. Moses, the settlement comes along with the risk of Vail ultimately winning the case if it went to court. 1,500 individuals opted-out of the case, with several others attempting to opt-out. Those who opt-out are now able to join the ongoing Quint et al v. Vail Resorts Inc. case taking place in Colorado federal courts.
Whether you are a fan of Vail Resorts or not, any company participating in illegal labor practices deserves to be punished in some manner. Do I, personally, think $13 million is enough? Honestly, realistically, I have no idea. I do, however, strongly believe that employees who sought some form of compensation after being affected by the labor law violations certainly deserve more than $7.