July 30, 2014

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Two would-be hires allege discrimination

LORAIN — Two grievances have been filed against the city of Lorain — one accusing the city of age discrimination and a second alleging racial discrimination.
James Collins and Craig Kimbrough, both of Lorain, filed grievances with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after they were denied positions within the city.
Collins, 56, alleges that Deputy Safety Service Director Joe Arendt did not award him a job as a mechanic for the city garage because of his age. He claims that during the interview on Feb. 14, Arendt asked for his age and if Collins was collecting a pension, according to the report he filed.
Collins ranked second on the civil service test, which is required for a city position, but the city is allowed to choose anyone in the top 10 spots and chose the 10th-ranked person, said Lorain Assistant Law Director Jim Walther.
“They chose who they wanted to choose, and we maintain that this was not discrimination,” Walther said.
He did not know why the other person was chosen and Safety Service Director Mike Kobylka, who is in charge of personnel, said he could not comment on either case while the legal department was investigating.
Kimbrough, 41, wrote in his grievance that he was not offered a job last year in the Utilities Department because he is black. He was notified in January that he was not selected due to his background check and lack of experience, but in his report to EEOC, he wrote that the person who was hired in his stead had a similar background check and is a relative of another city worker. That person also is white, Kimbrough said in the complaint.
Neither Collins nor Kimbrough returned phone calls seeking comment Wednesday.
The EEOC will investigate each claim, make a ruling and decide a settlement, Walther said. There is no timeline for the process.
Contact Adam Wright at 329-7151 or awright@chroniclet.com.