UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX
University of Phoenix settles discrimination case
University of Phoenix pays $1.9M to settle discrimination case involving non-Mormons
November 11, 2008
NEW YORK (Associated Press) - The University of Phoenix will pay nearly $1.9 million to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The EEOC alleged that the private university discriminated against enrollment counselors who were not associated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The suit alleged that non-Mormon counselors were given fewer new student recruiting leads and more reprimands.
The EEOC says $1,875,000 will be paid to 52 counselors as part of the settlement announced on Monday. The University of Phoenix agreed to adopt a zero-tolerance policy toward religious discrimination and hire a diversity officer.
The University of Phoenix is owned by the Apollo Group Inc. It did not admit wrongdoing.
College discriminated against non-Mormons
East Valley Tribune
November 10, 2008
A Federal District Court judge ordered University of Phoenix to pay nearly $1.9 million for practicing religious discrimination against non-Mormon employees who worked as enrollment counselors.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charged in a class action suit that the online university and its parent Apollo Group provided the best leads to its Mormon recruiters, promoted less qualified Mormon workers over non-Mormon peers, and disciplined non-Mormons for conduct they condoned with Mormon employees.
Besides securing the nearly $2 million monetary compensation for 52 individuals, the consent decree requires that University of Phoenix immediately halt all discriminatory actions, train all managers and employees on the issue of religious discrimination and hire a diversity officer to monitor compliance.
One of the Valley's largest employers, the University of Phoenix has more than 2,000 working in the online enrollment division.
"We are pleased that University of Phoenix is going to stop condoning such favoritism toward Mormon employees and the resultant discrimination against non-Mormon employees," said Mary Jo O'Neill, Phoenix regional attorney for the federal employment watchdog organization. "It is the EEOC's belief that, for many years, the University of Phoenix condoned an environment in which Mormon managers felt free to engage in favoritism toward their Mormon employees, and did so by providing the Mormon employees things such as strong leads on potential students. Given that evaluations are based largely on recruitment numbers, this disproportionate assignment of leads affected a whole host of matters for employees, including compensation, access to tuition waivers, and ability to be promoted."
The University of Phoenix confirmed the consent decree including the payout, training initiatives and oversight but said it does not admit wrongdoing.
The company issued the following statement: "University of Phoenix is pleased to have resolved this matter. We are dedicated to providing a work environment in which our employees are treated fairly and with respect, and are recognized and rewarded based on their accomplishments. University of Phoenix is committed to providing equal opportunity in all aspects of employment and does not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind."
Apollo Group settles non-Mormon bias suit
Article Last Updated: 11/11/2008
Apollo Group Inc., the owner of the
for-profit University of Phoenix, agreed to pay $1.88 million to the U.S. Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission to settle a lawsuit charging the school
discriminated against non- Mormons.
The suit, brought by the commission,
alleged that the University of Phoenix discriminated against non-Mormons when
hiring and promoting enrollment counselors, who recruit students, the commission
said in a statement. The settlement will be divided among 52 non-Mormons in the
class of individuals represented in the lawsuit.
Apollo, based in Phoenix, is the
largest for-profit provider of college degrees, with 362,100 college and
graduate degree students enrolled as of Aug. 31, according to a regulatory
filing. The company gets 95 percent of its revenue from the University of
Marla Sheiner, a company spokeswoman,
didn't immediately respond to calls seeking comment.
University of Phoenix to settle case for $1.88 million
By Jasen Lee
Published: Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2008
A federal judge has ordered the University of Phoenix and its parent company to pay $1.88 million to settle accusations that the university discriminated against non-Mormon employees in Arizona, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Monday.
The commission in 2006 had filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of 52 university employees, accusing the University of Phoenix Inc. and its parent corporation Apollo Group Inc. of violating the Civil Rights Act. The lawsuit contended the university had discriminated against non-Mormon employees who worked as enrollment counselors in the school's online division in the Phoenix metropolitan area, according to an EEOC news release.
The lawsuit said the University of Phoenix, which employs more than 2,000 people in its online-enrollment division, had engaged in the discriminatory behavior since at least 2001. Managers in the university's online enrollment department discriminated against employees who were not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by promoting less-qualified Mormon workers while repeatedly denying such advancement to non-LDS employees, the lawsuit said.
The managers also disciplined non-Mormon employees for conduct that Mormon workers were not disciplined for, denied tuition waivers to non-Mormon employees, and provided LDS employees with better leads on potential students, the lawsuit said. Enrollment counselors at the University of Phoenix are responsible for recruiting students and are evaluated based on the number of students they help enroll.
"It is the EEOC's belief that, for many years, the University of Phoenix condoned an environment in which Mormon managers felt free to engage in favoritism toward their Mormon employees," said Mary Jo O'Neill, an EEOC attorney in Phoenix. "We are pleased that University of Phoenix is going to stop condoning such favoritism toward Mormon employees and the resultant discrimination against non-Mormon employees."
Phoenix-based Apollo is the largest for-profit provider of college degrees, with 362,100 students enrolled as of Aug. 31, according to a regulatory filing. The company gets 95 percent of its revenue from the University of Phoenix.
The university admitted no wrongdoing in settling the EEOC case, the company said in a statement on Oct. 31, after reaching the settlement.
"University of Phoenix is pleased to have resolved this matter," the company said. "We are dedicated to providing a work environment in which our employees are treated fairly and with respect."
In addition to the monetary damages, which will be distributed among the 52 workers, the settlement agreement calls for the University of Phoenix to develop a zero-tolerance policy regarding religious discrimination and to offer training for managers and other workers on the issue of religious discrimination, the EEOC said. The university also must create a system to include in managers' evaluations an assessment of their compliance with equal-opportunity employment laws. And the university must hire a diversity officer.
Robert Lein, who filed a charge of discrimination with the commission that resulted in the lawsuit, said he was pleased with the settlement.
"I am happy to hear that the University of Phoenix is making significant changes to its environment to prevent what happened to me and many of my colleagues from happening again in the future."
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