A civil rights suit accusing Mountain Fuel Supply Co. of systematically discriminating against minorities has been filed against the company by a black former employee.
Joseph T. Agbor, a native Nigerian, filed the suit in U.S. District Court Thursday. The suit asked the court to order Mountain Fuel to racially integrate two positions at the company - meter reader and draftsman - that had no black employees in them at the time Agbor left the company in 1989.Mountain Fuel officials had no comment on the complaint itself because they had not seen it yet. But company spokesman Louise Jacobsen said, "Questar Corporation - of which Mountain Fuel is a part - has a strong affirmative action policy. We have hired minorities where we can; where we've gotten qualified applicants. But like every company that wants to be successful, you have to hire qualified people for your jobs."
Agbor holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Utah. According to the suit, he was hired as a part-time meter reader by Mountain Fuel in 1986 along with 15 other people.
Although Mountain Fuel consistently required Agbor to work more than 30 hours a week, the company denied him benefits that its own policy says should be given to all employees working more than 20 hours a week, the suit said.
Mountain Fuel also denied Agbor a full-time position as a meter reader but gave full-time positions to each of the 15 people who started when Agbor did and were with the company when Agbor left, the suit said. Agbor was the only black man in that group. He was also the only black man among the company's 101 meter readers, the suit said.
During the three years Agbor worked for Mountain Fuel, he applied for several full-time meter reading positions that opened. He was repeatedly denied those full-time positions, the suit said.
Agbor, who holds a degree in urban planning, also applied for part-time and full-time drafting positions with Mountain Fuel. Though fully qualified for the jobs, he was repeatedly denied those positions, the suit said. None of the people hired for those positions were black.
Mountain Fuel employs about 1,300 employees and in June ranked 54th among Utah's largest employers, according to figures obtained from Utah Job Service. Seven percent of the company's work force is minority and 0.5 percent is black, Jacobsen said.
In addition to court-ordered integration, Agbor seeks full-time work with Mountain Fuel as a meter reader and/or drafter. He seeks salary, benefits and seniority that would have accrued from the last date he applied for either position.
Agbor currently works for a medical supply company, Havas said.