Attorney: E-mails prove UWL discrimination - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Attorney: E-mails prove UWL discrimination

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La Crosse, WI (WXOW) -

An update on allegations of nepotism, discrimination, and retaliation by administrators at the UW-La Crosse.

Two university employees filed complaints with the states Equal Rights Division. The university denied the allegations.

Sandra Sieber claims she was passed over for a promotion because of her age and marital status.  The job she wanted was given to Kim Pierce, the wife of Fred Pierce, the man who oversees her office.

Jay Lokken also filed a complaint saying he was moved to another department as retaliation after he opposed that hiring.

In October, the university responded to those complaints, claiming they did nothing wrong.

Jim Birnbaum, the attorney for Lokken and Sieber said he has submitted e-mail evidence that Kim and Fred Pierce communicated about the position, which he said violates university policy.

"As a result of our public records request we have uncovered a treasure trove of documented evidence of the actions of the university of improperly not considering Sandy Sieber for the position and considering an unqualified spouse for the position and hiring her," said Birnbaum.

"We believe that a policy which favors and considers a marital status as a condition is no difference if they had a policy that prefers hiring men. What would you think if in fact the university had a policy to prefer to hire men? That would surprise you I'm sure, offend you and rightfully so," added Birnbaum.

The UW system denied any wrong doing and said Fred and Kim Pierce did not violate the university's spousal hiring policy.

That policy helps find university jobs for spouses of current employees.

The state's Equal Rights Division is currently investigating the complaints.

Both Jay Lokken and Sandra Sieber have been moved to other offices at the university.

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