Sunday, July 31, 2016

Lawsuit accused environmental group of discrimination

by Mateusz Perkowski

An environmental group opposed to public lands grazing was accused of age discrimination by a former employee who has since dismissed the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed against the Western Watersheds Project, which has fought multiple legal fights over grazing, by Mary K. Fite, the nonprofit group’s former biodiversity director.

She voluntarily dismissed the case without prejudice, allowing it to be revived, within a day after filing it.

Capital Press was unable to reach an attorney for Fite as of press time and Western Watersheds Project is not commenting on the lawsuit.

Fite alleged that she was fired in violation of federal and state anti-discrimination laws by the environmental group in early 2015 at the age of 60 after previously being demoted and having her pay reduced.

The complaint claimed that Fite’s problems began after the Western Watersheds Project, which is headquartered in Hailey, Idaho, hired Travis Bruner as executive director in 2014. The group’s previous chief, Jon Marvel, had retired the previous year.

Fite alleged that one of the group’s directors told another employee they were seeking to “make the organization younger,” and that at least three employees over 50 years old were terminated under Bruner.

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