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Local firm to pay $90K in settlement

By Jordyn Dahl Herald staff writer

A local company sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for age discrimination has agreed to pay $90,000 to settle the lawsuit.

The EEOC filed the lawsuit in 2011 and claimed Western Energy Services of Durango, WESODI, refused to hire two electricians because of their age.

Eric Camron, 72 at the time, and Dennis Thomas, then 61, were part of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in 2009 when WESODI asked the union for two electricians in New Mexico.

Camron and Thomas weren’t hired because they were too old, and the company wasn’t sure if they could keep up with the work, according to the lawsuit. The jobs went to a 24-year-old and a 28-year-old instead.

WESODI agreed to pay $25,000 to Camron and $65,000 to Thomas as part of the settlement, according to a consent decree filed in New Mexico District Court.

The company also has to review its existing equal opportunity employment policies with a consultant, post the policy in a “prominent location,” train employees on anti-discrimination laws and provide semi-annual reports to the EEOC.

A judge approved the settlement Monday.

While the company settled, it still denies any wrongdoing, according to the document. WESODI, a wholly owned subsidiary of La Plata Electric Association Inc., formed to help with electric line work, and it could not be reached for comment.

jdahl@durangoherald.com

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