A lawsuit filed May 15 in Vermont Superior Court claims that Craig DeLuca, a former president and chief operating officer of Inntopia, committed acts of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and false imprisonment against Alison Miley, a resident of Stowe, Vermont, seeking contract employment with the company.
Stowe-based Inntopia, known for travel and booking software that powers some of the country’s most well-known resorts, tour operators, and outfitters, has been named one of Outside’s Best Places to Work for the past three years. Outside’s attempts to reach DeLuca for comment were not immediately successful.
Trevor Crist, current Inntopia CEO, said the following in an e-mail: “The referenced complaint includes allegations against a former employee, who departed the company in June of last year. The alleged behavior as described is troubling, and is counter to everything the company stands for. Neither I nor the company would ever condone the type of behavior described in the complaint. Such behavior is an affront to our company values. Inntopia is dedicated to workplace equality, promoting respect among colleagues and maintaining a safe workplace environment that is free of harassment and discrimination of any kind.”
According to the complaint, DeLuca offered Miley what amounted to a trade: part-time employment for sex. When she didn’t accept his offer, the lawsuit asserts, discussions about the job in question became “vague and non-committal” and “ultimately Miley was not offered the work.” Outside contacted Miley, but she declined to comment.
In late summer of 2016, the filing alleges, DeLuca approached Miley, a communication strategist and consultant, about the possibility of doing contract work in “public relations, content, and branding.” The suit describes a series of meetings that occurred over the next few months—one with DeLuca and another executive, and one with DeLuca alone.
The lawsuit says that at the second meeting, in October 2016, DeLuca took her into an empty office and locked the door (the basis for the claim that Miley was subjected to false imprisonment). He then allegedly “suggested the two of them go to a risque show in New York,” brought up the idea of having sex in the office, and spent approximately 20 minutes trying to “convince her they should have a ‘friends with benefits’ sexual relationship.”
Miley said she wasn’t interested, but the suit contends that DeLuca continued to contact her, “calling to ask her if she’d thought more about the offer” and sending her “sexually suggestive” texts and e-mail over the next few months. The complaint mentions Miley’s desire to maintain a professional link with the company, for possible future work, rather than cut things off entirely. She allegedly returned to the company’s offices in spring 2017 to meet with DeLuca and discuss a potential opportunity.
According to the filing, “Inntopia allowed these meetings to happen, despite being on notice that DeLuca had engaged in similar conduct with at least one other female job seeker.” The identity of the second woman was not revealed in the complaint.
The suit also alleges that both DeLuca and Crist have “admitted to what happened with Miley,” but it does not provide detail to flesh that out or back it up. The suit also says, without offering additional detail, that DeLuca’s departure from Inntopia last summer was a “direct result of his sexual harassment of and discrimination against one or more other women.”
The suit asks for a trial by jury and compensatory and punitive damages.