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Former Colorado Public Radio host files complaint against company

DENVER — Former Colorado Public Radio host Vic Vela has filed a civil rights and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint against the company.

The complaint accuses CPR of not accommodating Vela’s disability, and wrongfully firing him.

“When I recently complained that conditions at work threatened my lifelong recovery efforts and that I needed support and accommodation, CPR quickly fired me,” the complaint filed Tuesday says. “Notwithstanding its outward appearances, CPR exploited my health condition and life story for financial gain and prestige, only to terminate me as soon as they had to deal with my disability.”

Vela had worked for CPR for nine years. CPR said in a statement that they “parted ways” with him on Jan. 3.

His podcast, Back from Broken, discussed mental health, overcoming addiction and supporting others during the pandemic.

The complaint says that when Vela complained about stressful working conditions threatening his recovery, accommodations weren’t made, and he was later fired.

“CPR was more than willing to monetize recovery through the podcast,” Vela told 9NEWS. “But they found my own recovery journey to be inconvenient. And that’s really, really heartbreaking.”

The complaint says CPR’s actions violate Colorado’s anti-discrimination act.

“It makes me feel hurt and taken advantage of,” Vela said. “And those are two things that nobody wants to feel, especially from their employer. And especially from an employer that I’ve given my heart and soul to.”

Credit: 9NEWS
Vic Vela

Tuesday afternoon, CPR released a statement saying:

While we typically do not comment on personnel decisions, due to the public conversation about this issue, and in an effort to increase transparency about management decisions, we feel it is important to make this statement.

Over the past several years, this person has demonstrated behaviors that are not in alignment with the values, culture and environment we have at CPR, where we strive to provide a workplace that is both physically and psychologically safe for all of our employees. This individual was provided opportunities to bring his behavior in alignment with our values but was unable to meet those expectations.

Colorado Public Radio does not tolerate harassment or hostile, abusive or discriminatory behaviors of any kind from any employee – regardless of their power, influence or position. This applies to all individuals including vendors, contractors, and audiences. Behavior that is aggressive or hostile, creates a reasonable fear of injury toward another party, or subjects another to emotional distress will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

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