Apollo Group Inc. and the University of Phoenix Online have settled a religious discrimination case for $1.89 million. The defendants were accused of discriminating against non-Mormon employees at the University of Phoenix Online division. This would be the largest religious-discrimination settlement in the history of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The lawsuit involved 52 former enrollment counselors who alleged that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were favored in sales leads, promotions, tuition waivers and more at the for-profit school.
Apollo’s annual sales exceeded $3 billion in its latest fiscal year and agreed to four years of monitoring to ensure compliance. Apollo’s longtime chief executive officer, Todd Nelson, was active in the church. Nelson resigned several months before the EEOC lawsuit was filed and is now CEO of Education Management Corp., a Pittsburgh company providing career education.
Apollo issued a statement: “We are dedicated to providing a work environment in which our employees are treated fairly and with respect, and are recognized and rewarded based on their accomplishments.”
Under Nelson, the company seemed to get into some major legal problems. A jury convicted the company of securities fraud — but that verdict was overturned in January.
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