Court upholds Navajo hiring rules at Ariz. mines

Posted at: 10/26/2012 11:38 AM
By: The Associated Press

GALLUP, N.M. (AP) - A federal judge has upheld hiring preferences at northeastern Arizona coal mines that require the mining company to favor members of the Navajo tribe.

The Gallup Independent reports that Phoenix U.S. District Judge John Sedwick's ruling may end a decade-long battle that pitted the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Peabody Western Coal Co. and the Navajo Nation.

The EEOC alleged in its 2001 lawsuit that contracts requiring hiring preferences for Navajos seeking work on Peabody's reservation mines discriminate against members of other tribes.

The federal anti-workplace discrimination agency argued that American Indians as a group could be offered preference but not Navajos specifically.

A Navajo Department of Justice statement says the Oct. 18 ruling backs its position that the practice is legal. The EEOC says it may appeal. 

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