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Ex-employee accuses Park City of 'pervasive race discrimination'

Suit says Hispanics were referred to as 'dumb Mexicans'

A former Park City employee who worked in the resort town for 21 years has filed a federal lawsuit accusing the city of discrimination against Hispanic employees.

Eulogio Hinojos, 46, filed the 19-page complaint Tuesday. Hinojos was born in Mexico and is now a U.S. citizen. His lawsuit accuses Park City of a "longstanding and ongoing practice and pattern of pervasive race discrimination" and attributes his depression and anxiety to the hostile work environment.

The West Valley resident began employment with the city in 1984, working in snow removal, grounds and street maintenance. He was terminated by the city in June 2006, when he was unable to return to work after medical leave because of emotional distress the lawsuit said was caused by his job.

"Mr. Hinojos' complaints were not taken seriously nor handled properly, and the actions taken by Park City were not sufficient to stop the persistent racial harassment, which permeated the work environment in which Mr. Hinojos worked," the lawsuit said.

Hinojos is suing for back pay, past and future medical damages, compensatory damages and other costs as the jury deems fit.

Park City Deputy Attorney Tom Daley said Friday the city had not yet been served with the lawsuit.

"It's just unfortunate. Hugo, as he was known, was a valued employee; he was a well-liked guy. He was around here for a long time, and it's unfortunate he's found himself in this circumstance," Daley said.

The lawsuit charges that Hispanics were yelled at, referred to as "dumb Mexicans" and that racial slurs were used to describe them on a regular basis. Hispanics were not allowed to drive certain vehicles or use break rooms, the lawsuit contends, and only Hispanics were required to be on-call during weekends.

The lawsuit said Hinojos repeatedly complained to the city's human-resources department about the discrimination and specifically the actions of two supervisors, and verbal warnings were the only form of discipline.