PHOENIX – Claiming it does not discriminate but seeks to minimize attorney expenses, Desert Schools Federal Credit Union has agreed to settle a four-year-old suit alleging bias brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission involving four branch employees. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed but local press reports said the EEOC suit was settled for $65,000. The suit alleged Desert Schools discriminated at an east Valley branch “by favoring Caucasian, Mormon employees in promotional decisions to the exclusion of African-American and non-Mormon employees.” In a statement, Desert Schools maintained that while the class action case lacked merit, “it was in the best interest of its members and the organization to settle due to the costs associated with litigating against a large governmental agency.” Insisting the CU does not practice discrimination, David Strachan, vice president of human resources at Desert Schools, noted EEOC had dropped several of its settlement demands in the suit and that the change in strategy is “significant.” That concession, he said, demonstrates “they would have had a very difficult time proving their case.” The original suit was brought by one employee and then as a class was expanded to four employees of which two were later dropped from the case, said a CU spokesman. “With a trial still as much as a year away, mounting legal expenses and hundreds of employee hours invested in retrieving and copying the tends of thousands of documents demanded by the EEOC, Desert Schools management decided that agreeing to negotiate when the agency opened settlement talks was the fiscally responsible response,” said Strachan. [email protected]

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