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For week ended December 05, 1999 Posted 24 Feb 2001

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2 Mormon men claim discrimination over religion, gender, age

Summarized by Kent Larsen

2 Mormon men claim discrimination over religion, gender, age
Idaho Falls ID Post Register 1Dec99 D2
By Jennifer Langston

IDAHO FALLS, IDAHO -- Two members of the LDS Church in Idaho have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Government's Energy Department, claiming they were passed over for promotions because of their age, gender and Church membership. The lawsuit was filed in spite of a ruling by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that there was no evidence of discriminiation.

James Minton, 59, and Stephen Pulley, 56, were denied promotions in 1993 in the Energy Department's Idaho Operations Office's finance and accounting divisions. According to the lawsuit, the two women chosen for the promotions were less qualified, non-Mormon and in their 30s. The EEOC found that the manager making the promotions decided that the women had better communication skills and were more focused on customer service.

Supporting the lawsuit, attorney Charles Carr, who is representing Minton and Pulley, provided affidavits from 10 current and former workers supporting the discrimination claims. The lawsuit also claims that David Hamer Jr., the non-Mormon chief financial officer in the office, asked his secretary to mark a list of employees indicating which employees were Mormon. Hamer told the EEOC that this was simply so that he could avoid offending Mormon employees by offering them coffee, for example.

"We didn't believe that was the true reason, and our clients didn't believe it," Carr said. "We think that's an after-the-fact excuse - he was caught making that kind of inquiry." The EEOC report called the list suspect, but said that it didn't prove discrimination.

Hamer told the EEOC he was trying to change the culture of the office, in order to provide more effective customer service. He also wanted, "individuals who could teach their subordinates to think more for themselves, and to be more independent." The EEOC also found that the office "had a reputation for some of the Mormon males subjecting the non-Mormon females and minorities to a hostile environment," and that the perception in the office was that hiring decisions favored Mormons, and that the Mormon religion was promoted in the office.

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information