PROVO — A former employee of Mountain View Hospital in Payson is suing the company, alleging he was fired because his father was a polygamist.

Kevin Kraut of Genola worked on the maintenance staff at the hospital from January 1999 until October 2002, when he was warned, disciplined and terminated — all because the hospital learned his father participated in plural marriage, Kraut alleges in a lawsuit filed in May in Provo's 4th District Court.

Kraut's father — Ogden Kraut — passed away in July 2002 and obituaries and articles published in local newspapers noted Kraut's participation in polygamy, as well as his numerous self-published books touting the practice of plural marriage.

Kevin Kraut says he was fired because of religious discrimination and now wants financial reimbursement for lost wages, attorneys fees and emotional distress, according to the lawsuit.

Officials at the hospital say the lawsuit is unfounded, and Kevin Kraut was fired for reasons completely unrelated to his father's religious beliefs.

"Kevin is maintaining that he was dismissed for religious (reasons)," said Kimball Anderson, the hospital's chief operating officer. "We deny that and we have plenty of documentation regarding his performance to justify his termination. His termination had nothing to do with his father's religious practice."

Anderson declined to comment specifically on what types of performance issues resulted in the termination.

Ogden Kraut, 75, was a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in his teens, and served in the church through various callings, according to an obituary published on July 19, 2002, in the Deseret Morning News.

After marrying several women, Ogden Kraut was excommunicated. The LDS Church disavowed the practice of polygamy more than a century ago and excommunicates any member who practices it.

In response to the firing, Kevin Kraut and his attorneys took his case to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which investigated and determined the firing was unjust and discriminatory, according to a letter from the commission's Albuquerque area office filed in 4th District Court.

With that determination in March, the commission gave Kevin Kraut the right to sue.

His suit alleges illegal discrimination, breach of employment contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

Kevin Kraut's attorney, Mike Petro, did not immediately return calls from the Deseret Morning News.

"This has never happened before," Anderson said of the accusations of religious intolerance. "I think that as an organization we're very tolerant of individual's beliefs and very tolerant of diversity. We embrace diversity in all forms. (Kraut's) claim is totally groundless."


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