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5/20/2004

EEOC probe targets local Home Depot

The Associated Press

DENVER — At least four former Home Depot employees say they will cooperate with an investigation into alleged discrimination at stores in Colorado, including the one in Longmont.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has sent letters to former Home Depot employees, alerting them of a possible class-action lawsuit against the company.

The EEOC is investigating stores throughout the state for allegations of “maintaining a hostile work environment based on gender, race and national origin,” and for retaliating against employees who alleged employment discrimination.

Home Depot has about 35 stores in Colorado that employ 7,000 people. The retailer has 300,000 total employees.

In a written statement, Home Depot said the allegations had no merit.

Among the former employees who said they will cooperate with the EEOC is Skip Clancy, who was fired from the Longmont store almost five weeks before he was due to receive a bonus for his fifth anniversary. As he approached bonus time, Clancy said, he was assigned impossible tasks such as staffing a department alone that formerly had three employees. This led to disciplinary notices from management.

Debra Rhodus says she was fired after complaining that the Park Meadows store was too cold in the winter. Joe Hernandez, from Denver, said the only reason he was given for his firing in 2001 was that he “wasn’t a team player.”

James Bustamante said he won Employee of the Month at the Golden store, then discovered he had write-ups in his personnel file. He quit last year.