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Federal agency sues U. of Phoenix for alleged Mormon bias

Published September 28, 2006 11:51 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2006, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Posted: 12:33 PM- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed suit accusing the University of Phoenix of discriminating against non-Mormon employees.

The legal action, filed this week in U.S. District Court in Phoenix, alleges the employment conditions at the private college were less favorable for these workers in regard to enrollment leads, tuition waiver grants and reprimands. In addition, three non-LDS employees in Arizona were transferred and one was fired in retaliation for complaining, according to the suit.

The lawsuit is seeking an injunction barring the university from discriminating based on religion and from retaliating based on complaints about unlawful practices; the institution of policies to provide equal employment opportunities for non-members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; a written apology; financial compensation and reinstatement for the affected employees; and unspecified punitive damages.

The EEOC also is asking Judge Earl Carroll to declare its suit a class action.

University spokesman Joe Cockrell said the school has not yet been served with the suit so he cannot comment on the specifics.

"We employ over 15,000 people and we have always been guided by the principle of equal opportunity and respect for others," he said.

"We are committed to the principles of tolerance and respect, fair treatment, equal access and consideration, and recognition for contributions. We maintain a strict anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policy and take a zero-tolerance stance on these issues." The university, part of the Phoenix-based Apollo Group, caters to working adults. According to its Web site, the school has more than 200,000 students enrolled on campuses and online. The Utah campuses are in Salt Lake City, Taylorsville, Murray, Ogden, Provo and St. George.

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