University of South Alabama Officials Dispute EEOC Ruling
MOBILE, Ala.University of South Alabama officials are disputing a finding that the school discriminated against a group of workers and were expected to reject an offer to settle the case. The school, facing a deadline, was to respond late last month to an earlier report from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that accused the school of paying some Black workers less than their White counterparts doing the same job. The report also said the school fostered a hostile working environment for some Blacks and workers over the age of 40. The employees are seeking an undetermined amount of back pay and a promise that the alleged behavior would not happen again. University spokesman Keith Ayers says that the school does not practice discrimination and “aggressively administers policies to keep these things from happening in the workplace.” If employees feel those policies are not effective, he says, “We have a grievance process and failing that we have a court process.”The report followed an 18-month investigation by the EEOC into a complaint filed in 2000 by Ken Finlay, a utilities worker who leads the school’s union organization for support personnel. Finlay’s complaint alleged that Housing Department workers suffered age- and race-based discrimination in such areas as job placement, denial of promotions, disparity in pay, disparity in job assignments and false accusations by supervisors. The EEOC rejected allegations of unequal pay based on age and did not take up allegations regarding hiring, job assignment and promotion.
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