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4 WOMEN SUE OVER LOST MICRON JOBS

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Four Utah County women who moved to Idaho in January to be trained for a career at Micron Technology Inc.'s Lehi plant are suing the computer chip manufacturer for what they call broken employment promises.

Patricia D. Walker, American Fork, Shauna Smoot, Springville, Marilyn A. Walsh, Pleasant Grove, and Sherri Talbot, Orem, say they began working for Micron in January on promises that they would become supervisors at the Lehi plant upon completion of training at the company's Boise facility.They're claiming Micron failed to keep its end of the bargain when the company terminated them in February, just after suspending construction at the Lehi facility.

"The agreement between the plaintiffs and Micron constituted a binding employment contract which could not be terminated by the defendant except for just cause only," the suit says.

The women were hired at an hourly wage of $6.75 and allegedly told that they would become eligible for positions at the Lehi plant with a starting salary of $31,000 per year. The women say that when accepting the job with Micron, they had to agree to stay with the company for 12 months. Otherwise, they would be required to repay relocation costs paid by Micron.

The women also say that when they first started in Boise, they discovered that Micron was paying employees hired from Utah less than those hired from Idaho. They say that when they complained,the company increased their wage to $7.35 an hour.

In an answer to the lawsuit, Micron denies giving preferential treatment or paying higher wages to Idaho workers over Utah workers.

The four women say Micron breached an express contract and an implied contract, gave negligent and fraudulent misrepresentation and caused them emotional distress. They say they've lost wages and benefits, gave up gainful employment in Utah in favor of Micron's promises and suffered other personal expenses when they accepted the Micron jobs.

"By abruptly constructively terminating the plaintiffs' employment without just cause, the defendant deprived the plaintiffs of their rights to receive the benefits of their agreement," the suit says.

The suit is asking that Micron be ordered to pay $100,000 to each of the four women, plus punitive damages to be determined by a jury.

In its answer, Micron denies promising the women a position at the Lehi plant with a starting salary of $31,000. The company also denies requiring the women to pay back relocation expenses if they didn't work for the company for at least one year.

Micron says the suit is barred by provisions of the Utah Workers' Compensation Act, in that the women failed to mitigate their damages. Micron also says that any negligence on its part was exceeded by the women's own negligence.

"Plaintiffs' complaint is without merit and not brought or asserted in good faith," Micron says.