Human Rights Case Summaries

These summaries summarize recently litigated, public hearing cases

In the following cases, unless otherwise noted, the Commission staff found that substantial evidence existed to support the complainants’ allegations. Informal conciliation efforts were unsuccessful, and the staff forwarded the cases to the Commission for public hearing. 

In Littleton Buxton and Nancy Cox v. Parkview Condominiums Owners Association and Property Management Services, Inc., complainants alleged that respondents discriminated against them when respondents refused to provide reasonable accommodations for their disabilities.  Mr. Buxton and Ms. Cox requested that respondents allow them to park their car closer to their residence for loading and unloading purposes, but their requests were denied.  A hearing scheduled for October 14–16, 2014, was continued when the parties entered into a settlement agreement in which respondents agreed to allow complainants to park their vehicle next to their condominium when necessary, adopt policies for providing reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities, and obtain training on the provisions of the Human Rights Law that prohibit discrimination in housing.  After the settlement terms were satisfied, Commission staff filed a motion with the Commission to dismiss the case on November 24, 2015.  On December 14, 2015, the Commission granted the motion and dismissed the case.

In Jennifer Bozine v. Alaska Sales and Service, Inc., complainant alleged that she was discriminated against because of her sex when she was involuntarily transferred out of respondent’s body shop while a less experienced male coworker was not transferred, and that she was forced to resign because she was prevented from pursuing her career as an automobile body painter. A hearing was held on March 2–3, 2015.  On September 23, 2015, the administrative law judge issued a decision recommending dismissal of the case.  As of December 31, 2015, a final decision from the Commission was pending.

In Dennis Brown v. State of Alaska, Department of Corrections, Division of Institutions, complainant, who was incarcerated in one of respondent’s facilities, alleged that respondent discriminated against him because of his disability when it refused to provide him with a cell that was accessible to persons with disabilities.  A hearing scheduled for January 12–13, 2016, was continued when the parties agreed to settle the case.  At the end of 2015 a final agreement between the parties was pending.

In April Bunn v. Seward Chamber of Commerce, complainant alleged that respondent discriminated against her because of her disability when respondent terminated her employment immediately after she suffered a seizure at work.  The parties reached a settlement in which respondent agreed to pay Ms. Bunn $24,093 in back pay and to train its staff on the provisions of the Human Rights Law that prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability.  After respondent complied with all of the terms of the settlement, the executive director moved to dismiss the case.  The Commission issued an order dismissing the case on August 25, 2015.

In Danilo Cabrera v. Snow Goose Restaurant & Brewery, complainant alleged that respondent discriminated against him based on his national origin, Dominican, when respondent terminated his employment.  On July 1, 2015, the executive director dismissed the case without referring the case to hearing because a hearing would not represent the best use of Commission resources and would not advance the purposes stated in AS 18.80.200, and because the probability of success on the merits of the case was low.

In Daren Cummings v. Alaska Logistics, LLC, complainant alleged that respondent discriminated against him when it refused to investigate or remedy his complaint that a coworker had sexually harassed him, and that as a result his working environment had become so intolerable that he was forced to resign.  A hearing scheduled for November 16–18, 2015, was continued after the parties agreed to settle the case.  A final settlement agreement was executed in which respondent agreed to pay complainant $53,000 and to obtain training for its Alaska employees on the provisions of the Human Rights Law prohibiting discrimination in employment.  At the end of 2015, Commission staff was monitoring respondent’s completion of the terms of the settlement.

In Eli Dickson v. State of Alaska Department of Corrections, Division of Institutions, complainant, an inmate incarcerated in one of respondent’s facilities, alleged that he was discriminated against based on his physical disability when respondent refused to consider a reasonable accommodation and denied him the opportunity to work as a baker in the facility’s kitchen.  On June 22, 2015, the executive director dismissed the case without referring the case to hearing because a hearing would not represent the best use of Commission resources and would not advance the purposes stated in AS 18.80.200.

In Julia Echeverria v. Caribou Corp., d/b/a Caribou Family Restaurant, Caribou’s Tooth, Inc., Jackie Ray Morrell, and Elizabeth C. Johnson, complainant alleged that respondent subjected her to a hostile work environment based on her sex and terminated her employment for complaining about discrimination.  Complainant also alleged that respondent retaliated against her by attempting to induce her new employer to fire her after she filed a complaint of discrimination with the Commission.  At the end of 2015, a hearing was scheduled for March 7-10, 2016.

In Paula Haley, Connor Carle, and Sydney Peterson v. Sullivan’s of Alaska, Inc., d/b/a Sullivan’s Steakhouse, the executive director and two individual complainants filed three separate complaints against respondent, alleging that respondent terminated the employment of at least five employees, including Mr. Carle and Ms. Peterson, because they were under the age of eighteen. A hearing was held on May 4–7, 2015.  As of December 31, 2015, the administrative law judge had not yet issued a recommended decision.

In Denise Kichura v. Wasilla Health System, LLC, complainant alleged that she was subjected to unwelcome sexual advances by her supervisor and that her supervisor denied her a promotion after she rejected the advances.  Complainant also alleged that she was forced to resign after she complained to respondent about her supervisor’s conduct and nothing was done.   A hearing scheduled for March 4–6, 2014, was vacated after the parties reached a settlement in which respondent agreed to provide training to its managers and supervisors on the provisions of the Human Rights Law.  At the end of 2015, final resolution of the case was pending respondent’s completion of the terms of the settlement.

In Ashley M. Lahaie v. Subway, complainant alleged that her employer discriminated against her based on her sex and retaliated against her for complaining of discrimination.  Ms. Lahaie alleged that after she complained about a co-worker’s unwelcome sexual advances, respondent transferred her to another store, demoted her from a supervisory capacity, and then removed her from the work schedule. A hearing was held on January 13–15, 2015.  On August 21, 2015, the administrative law judge recommended that the Commission dismiss the case.  The Commission issued an order dismissing the case on November 10, 2015.

In Amormio Lapan v. Pegasus Aircraft Maintenance, LLC, complainant alleged that he was discriminated against when his employer refused to provide a reasonable accommodation for his disability.  A hearing scheduled for January 8–9, 2015, was continued when respondent agreed to a settlement.  After respondent satisfied the terms of the settlement agreement, the executive director requested dismissal of the case.  The Commission issued an order dismissing the case on June 5, 2015.

In Mustafa Iflazoglu v. Anchorage Lakefront Limited Partnership, d/b/a Millennium Hotel & M&C Hotel Interests, Inc., complainant alleged that respondent terminated his employment because of his race, Arab, sex, national origin, Turkish, and religion, Muslim.  A public hearing in the case has been scheduled for June 20–24, 2016.

In Joyce Miguel v. J & M Co. Ltd., d/b/a Korean BBQ or Yummy Yummy Korean BBQ, complainant alleged that respondent refused to hire her as a cashier because of her age, forty, and her race, Caucasian.  A public hearing in the case was scheduled for April 23–24, 2015.  The parties reached a settlement and agreed to continue the hearing pending completion of the terms of the agreement.  After respondent complied with the terms of the settlement the executive director requested dismissal of the case.  The Commission issued an order dismissing the case on August 24, 2015.

In Daniel Morgan v. American President Lines, Ltd., complainant, a longshoreman, alleged that respondent refused to provide him with crane operator training because of his age, fifty-six.  A public hearing scheduled for February 26–27, 2015, was continued when the parties reached a settlement.  After respondent satisfied the terms of the settlement the executive director requested dismissal of the case.  The Commission issued an order dismissing the case on June 8, 2015.

In Frank Olson v. State of Alaska, Department of Corrections, Division of Institutions, complainant, who was incarcerated at one of respondent’s facilities, alleged that respondent discriminated against him because of his disability when it refused to continue a reasonable accommodation, in the form of a cell that was accessible to persons with disabilities, when he was transferred from another facility.  A hearing scheduled for January 12–13, 2016, was continued when the parties agreed to settle the case.  At the end of 2015, a final settlement agreement between the parties was pending.

In Olga Pawlaczyk v. Meritage Management Company LLC, d/b/a Inlet Tower, complainant alleged that her employment as a housekeeping supervisor was terminated because of her national origin, Polish.  An accusation was issued on April 17, 2015.  The executive director subsequently learned that respondent had withheld information during the investigation that would have led to dismissal of the case.  On October 12, 2015, the executive director filed a motion requesting that the administrative law judge recommend dismissal of the case and issue sanctions against respondent for its failure to disclose information.  At the end of 2015, a ruling on the motion was pending.

In Harry Ross v. Alaska Railroad Corporation, complainant alleged that respondent failed to promote him because of his race, Black. After a public hearing, the Commission dismissed the case.  Complainant appealed the decision to superior court, and on March 30, 2012, the court reversed the Commission’s decision and remanded the case to the Commission.  The Commission referred the matter to the Office of Administrative Hearings, and the parties briefed the issues on remand to an administrative law judge (ALJ). Briefing was completed on December 11, 2012.  On April 28, 2014, the administrative law judge issued a decision recommending that the Commission again dismiss the case.  On May 19, 2014, the ALJ forwarded the record to the Commission.  As of December 31, 2015, a final decision by the Commission had not yet been issued.

In Candice Schuyler v. Era Aviation, Inc., complainant, a flight attendant, alleged that she was discriminated against based on her age, sex and perception of physical disability when she was terminated while on leave recovering from an on-the-job injury.  Ms. Schuyler was expected to fully recover after two months but was terminated after one month of leave. Before a hearing was scheduled, the parties reached an agreement to settle the case in which respondent agreed to provide training to its managers and supervisors on the provisions of the Human Rights Law.  After respondent complied with the terms of the settlement the executive director requested dismissal of the case.  The Commission issued an order dismissing the case on June 5, 2015.

In Makaen Serr v. ICE Services, Inc., complainant alleged that respondent treated her as a person with a disability when it terminated her employment as a dishwasher working at respondent’s facility on the North Slope.  Complainant asserted that she was fully capable of performing her job and that she was considered a valuable employee by her superiors in the company.  A hearing scheduled for February 24–25, 2015, was continued after the parties entered into a settlement.  Respondent agreed to pay complainant $60,000 and to obtain training for its supervisors and managers on the provisions of the Human Rights Law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability and the obligation to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities.  At the end of 2015, Commission staff was monitoring respondent’s compliance with the agreement.

In Michelle Traxler v. The Alaska Boathouse, LLC, complainant alleged that respondent discriminated against her on the basis of her sex and retaliated against her for complaining about discrimination when it terminated her employment.  On May 27, 2015, the executive director dismissed the case without referring the case to hearing because a hearing would not represent the best use of Commission resources and would not advance the purposes stated in AS 18.80.200.

In Andrea Westfall v. ICE Services, Inc., complainant alleged that respondent treated her as a person with a disability when it refused to hire her for a lead cook position at respondent’s facility on the North Slope.  Complainant asserted that although she was respondent’s preferred candidate, respondent rejected her application solely because she was taking a prescribed medication.  After an accusation was filed, the parties entered into a settlement in which respondent agreed to pay complainant $7,632 and to obtain training for its supervisors and managers on the provisions of the Human Rights Law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability and the obligation to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities.  At the end of 2015, Commission staff was monitoring respondent’s compliance with the agreement.

In Doretta Wheeler v. State of Alaska, Department of Health and Social Services, Palmer Pioneer Home, complainant alleged that respondent discriminated against her because of her age, fifty-eight, and disability when it terminated her employment and subsequently refused to rehire her.  A hearing was held on January 6–9, 2015.  On October 30, 2015, the administrative law judge recommended that the Commission find that respondent discriminated against Ms. Wheeler and award her $84,716 in back pay, plus interest, and conduct training on the provisions of the Human Rights Law.  At the end of 2015, a final decision by the Commission was pending.