SV Company sued
she was fired
for objecting to hiring practices
By PAT MURPHY
Express Staff Writer
The former human resources director for
the Sun Valley Company filed a lawsuit Tuesday, April 1, against her former
employer alleging she was fired for being a whistleblower about the company’s
hiring practices of foreign nationals and "discrimination" of female and
Kim Hayes, 35, who was fired in July 2002
after two years as head of the company’s personnel department, named the Sun
Valley Company; its parent corporation, Sinclair Oil Co.; Sun Valley Company
general manager Wally Huffman; food and beverage manager Claude Guigon, and 53
Filed by The Roark Law Firm of Hailey, the
suit asks for a jury trial, unspecified damages of not less than $10,000 and a
permanent injunction "enjoining them (defendants) from engaging in further
unlawful employment practices …"
Huffman’s office said he is out of town
Sinclair attorney Lynn Hart, in Salt Lake
City said he had no comment since he had not seen the lawsuit.
Hayes’ attorney, Cynthia Woolley, pointed
out that the Idaho Department of Labor has ruled that Hayes is entitled to
unemployment compensation of about $250 a week, which she said indicates the
termination was unjustified, as well as receiving a "Notice of Right to Sue"
from the Idaho Human Rights Commission.
Her salary when she was fired was $48,000
The central contention in the 16-page
lawsuit’s 12 claims is that Hayes discovered the Sun Valley Company was hiring
foreign nationals without U.S. Social Security cards as required by law and was
fired after complaining to company management.
Hayes explained during an interview that
during this time, she hired Woolley as her attorney at her own expense for
advice on what to do, and when the company learned this, she said she was
confronted by Sinclair’s director of Human Resources, Lowell Hardy, whom she
said told her she was being fired because she hired an attorney.
Hayes husband, Terry, also worked for the
Sun Valley Company in maintenance but resigned after she was fired.
"I really want people to understand I
tried to work this out with the company," Hayes said during an interview.
"Things were going on (at Sun Valley Company) that I’d be held accountable for"
and that she objects to.
After complaining to Huffman, Hayes said
that company employees with the knowledge of management "conveyed to the general
public that plaintiff was insubordinate, disrespectful, incompetent, disloyal
and dishonest, and that plaintiff was terminated from her employment for those
The suit termed the alleged statements
"wrongful, unlawful and malicious" and "were intended to, and did, deprive
plaintiff of public confidence and good will …"
Hayes also alleges that females are paid
less than males at the Sun Valley Company, and French-born employees receive
preferred treatment. Guigon, the beverage manager, is French.
Her allegations against Huffman, Guigon
and unnamed others listed as "Does" in the lawsuit involve assertions that they
defamed her with remarks about her competence and performance as human resources
Since leaving the Sun Valley Company,
Hayes has launched her own firm, International Employees Solutions, which,
ironically, involves recruiting foreign nations for employment by other
She said the Sun Valley Company has not
retained her services.