"I definitely had the sense that the IHRC was about to recommend me for the position," Dew told BW. "But I had been told that since the IHRC was placed under the Labor Department in 2010, the Labor Department director [Ken Edmunds] would have the final say in the matter."
When then-IHRC Administrator Pam Parks escorted Dew to Edmunds' fourth-floor office at the DOL, things took a dramatic turn.
"He made me feel like I was less than a person," Dew told BW, referring to Edmunds' alleged questioning of his disability—an epileptic seizure disorder—and whether it would limit his ability to work a 40-hour week. Additionally, Dew learned that at the time of his interview with Edmunds, Parks had referenced Dew's sexual orientation.
BW's investigation triggered a tort claim against the state and, on May 1, attorneys for Dew filed a lawsuit in U.S. court with a demand for a jury trial, naming Edmunds and Parks as defendants and claiming unlawful discrimination, violation of the Civil Rights Act, violation of the Equal Protection Clause and emotional distress. Dew is seeking a $10 million judgment.
Concurrently, a lawsuit has been filed in Idaho court, naming Edmunds, Parks, the Idaho Department of Labor and the Idaho Human Rights Commission, again demanding a jury trial. The state lawsuit follows on the heels of the initial tort claim, filed in January. But Edmunds, Parks and the state agencies allowed a 90-day statutory period to end, thus triggering the civil action against the state.
Dew's attorneys, Ron Coulter and Holly Sutherland, of Eagle-based Idaho Employment Law Solutions, said the details of Dew's plight first came on their radar when they read the BW report.
"It was stunning to me when I read the Boise Weekly story. I thought, 'Jesus Christ. I can't believe they did this,'" said Coulter.
You can read the full complaints, filed in federal and state court, below.
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