CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. (CBS4)– Three people who used to work for Cherry Hills Village claim they were fired for blowing the whistle on discrimination against women.
“There was a very hostile work environment, a pattern of misconduct that took place for many years at Cherry Hills Village,” said plaintiff Suzanne Rogers.
Rogers and two other former employees said their concerns were ignored and decided to follow a lawsuit after they were terminated. The 62-page lawsuit has been filed against Cherry Hills Village and its current city manager John Patterson.
Rogers was the prosecuting attorney for the city for 17 years. She said when she helped a coworker file complaints about Patterson’s behavior they were both fired along with a third employee.
“I think I can say for all of us that we’re very emotional about it because we really loved working at Cherry Hills,” said Rogers.
The suit alleges that Patterson, then Chief of Police, created an abusive and sexually discriminatory hostile work environment. One employee in the suit said Patterson made sexist comments towards her like, “This job may be better suited for a man” and “I know women like you, you are all the same” and “You make me sick!”
“Comments that were made about sexuality, comments that were made that were inappropriate about women, there was screaming, stomping, hollering,” said Rogers.
Rogers said she helped the women write a letter to the mayor at the time about the issues hoping something would be done.
“There was an independent investigation that said this man should not be in there and he shouldn’t be in a position where he can continue to do what he’s been doing there,” said Rogers.
Instead those who spoke out were fired and Patterson was promoted to Cherry Hills Village City Manager.
“We’re angry that he got promoted, we’re angry that good people had to leave, got fired and we’re angry that there are other people that are left there in the same position now because they promoted him,” said Rogers.
The City of Cherry Hills Village released this statement, “The City of Cherry Hills Village intends to defend vigorously against allegations made in a lawsuit… The City categorically refutes both the allegations and any liability associated with these employment matters.”