So it looks like the County of Maui is back in court over actions of the Maui Police Department. And it’s not just anyone filing the suit, either–it’s the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and they’re hopping mad because they say the Maui PD unfairly discriminated against a 45-year-old who wanted to join their ranks.
Here’s an excerpt from an EEOC press release I got yesterday (Dec. 18):
“According to the EEOC’s suit, Lars Sandstrom applied for the position of police officer in 2009, met all of the minimum qualifications for the position and passed the qualifying written exam. Sandstrom also had a bachelor’s degree and extensive military and life experience which qualified him for the position. The EEOC contends that during the job interview, assumptions were made about Sandstrom’s abilities given his age of 45 at the time, including the comment that, “I doubt someone your age could handle the stress of training.” Sandstrom was thereafter not selected for the position. An EEOC investigation found that several other less qualified candidates were hired as police officers during the time in question. Nonetheless, Sandstrom was able to secure employment as a police officer at another police department.”
Needless to say, the County of Maui disputes these assertions. Here’s a quote from Maui County Corporation Counsel Patrick Wong that appeared in a Dec. 18 press release sent out a few hours after the one from the EEOC:
“The EEOC’s allegations of age discrimination against the Maui Police Department are false. The County of Maui has a policy against discrimination on the basis of age, which is followed by MPD. In fact, MPD has hired a number of applicants over the age of 40 as police officers, including applicants older than Lars Sandstrom.
“The County is confident that it will prevail in this matter, and the EEOC’s allegations will be determined to be without merit.”
(Disclosure of all Disclosures: MauiTime Publisher Tommy Russo is currently suing the County of Maui in federal court over alleged assault committed by Maui Police Officer Nelson Johnson (who is himself being prosecuted by the State of Hawaii for allegedly assaulting his teenage daughter))
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
About Anthony Pignataro
Anthony Pignataro has been a journalist since 1996. He started work as MauiTime's Editor in 2003, took a couple years off starting in 2008, then returned to the staff in 2011. He's the author of "Stealing Cars With The Pros," a 2013 collection of his journalism and the Maui novels "Small Island" (2011) and "The Dead Season" (2012)–all of which were published by Event Horizon Press. In 2014, his one-act play "War Stories" won second place in the Maui Fringe Festival.