DALLAS (AP) – Federal officials said Monday they have sued Bombardier Aerospace Corp., accusing the company of civil rights violations in the firing of a Mormon employee.
Michael Kolman, a jet salesman, was fired less than a week after he complained to the company’s personnel department, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said.
The lawsuit alleges that a top Bombardier executive subjected Kolman to discriminatory comments, including that customers would be offended by his refusal to take part in drinking and smoking because of his Mormon faith.
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A spokesman for Montreal-based Bombardier said he had not seen the lawsuit and had no immediate comment.
William C. Backhaus, a lawyer for the federal commission, said the case represented “stark religious discrimination.” He said firing an employee for abstaining from tobacco and alcohol was ridiculous.
The commission accused Bombardier of violating the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits job discrimination based on race, color, religion and other factors. The commission said it filed the lawsuit after unsuccessful efforts to settle with the company.
The commission said it filed the lawsuit in U.S. district court in North Texas against Bombardier and its Dallas subsidiary, Bombardier Business Jet Solutions.
Bombardier Aerospace is a subsidiary of Montreal-based Bombardier Inc., one of the world’s largest makers of civil aircraft behind Boeing and Airbus. The Dallas subsidiary makes jets for fractional ownership – several unrelated owners who share the cost and flying time of a jet.