Discrimination Against Non-Mormons Results in $1.8M in Monetary Relief

November 12, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that U.S. District Court Judge Mary H. Murguia has entered a consent decree for $1,875,000 to resolve a class religious discrimination lawsuit against the University of Phoenix, Inc., and its parent corporation, Apollo Group, Inc.

The EEOC charged that the University of Phoenix engaged in a widespread practice of discriminating against non-Mormon employees who worked as enrollment counselors in the University’s Online Division.

According to the announcement, testimony of witnesses revealed that the discrimination by managers against non-Mormon employees included:

  • providing the Mormon employees better leads on potential students;
  • disciplining non-Mormon employees for conduct for which Mormon employees were not disciplined;
  • promoting lesser-qualified or unqualified Mormon enrollment counselors to management positions while repeatedly denying such promotions to non-Mormon enrollment counselors; and
  • denying tuition waivers to non-Mormon employees for failing to meet registration goals, while granting the waivers to Mormon employees.

In addition to providing monetary relief of $1,875,000 for 52 individuals, the consent decree also contains several strong provisions designed to stop further religious discrimination and prevent it from recurring, the EEOC said.

“We hope this settlement sends a message to all employers to be vigilant in ensuring a fair and equitable work environment for all employees regardless of their religion,” said EEOC’s Phoenix District Director Chester Bailey, in the announcement.