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PANEL READY TO TACKLE BIAS IN THE WORKPLACE

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After groping and trying to find out what it's supposed to be doing for several months, the Utah Anti-Discriminational Advisory Committee appears headed for some meaningful meetings.

After discussions with the legislator who sponsored the bill creating the committee, a represen- tative of Gov. Mike Leavitt, the State Industrial Commission and the Utah Anti-Discrimination Division, committee members appear to know more about their mission.Walker Kennedy III, committee chairman, said it appears the group's mission has been clarified and members can tackle issues that will have an impact on dealing with workplace discrimination.

According to letters sent back and forth between Kennedy, on behalf of the council, and the governor and the commission, there has been a problem with some committee members about the commission's reluctance to provide some data to the committee tracking a complainant through the entire anti-discrimination process.

Commissioner Colleen Colton said the commission hasn't tracked the cases because they go through three separate divisions and many changes have been made to solve some of the division's problems. She said a computer program will allow the commission to track these cases in the future, but the old data is moot.

As a result of some action taken by the commission, Colton said, eight people who have received "cause findings" following an investigation of workplace discrimination have resolved their cases, an indication the changes made in the division are working.

During last month's meeting, committee members invited Rep. Frank Pignanelli, D-Salt Lake, and the governor to attend their next meeting. Leavitt was unable to attend but sent an aide, Robin Riggs.

Pignanelli said it wasn't the Legislature's intent to create hostilities when it created the committee, which was one recommendation of the Anti-Discrimination Task Force. That group was created to examine charges the division was slow in investigating claims and didn't have enforcement power once a "cause finding" was written.

The legislator reminded the group that it isn't an investigative agency; it is supposed to make recommendations to the commission and be a public forum for people who have trouble with the agency.