Mukilteo aerospace company Electroimpact — whose president Peter Zieve was linked to anti-mosque mailing materials last year — has agreed to pay $485,000 after the Washington Attorney General’s Offices investigated allegations of discriminatory hiring practices against Muslims, the office announced Friday.
According investigators, the company also retaliated against employees who complained about the discriminatory work environment, treated workers differently according to marital status and engaged in unfair or deceptive advertising by saying it was an “equal opportunity employer,” the attorney general’s office announced Friday.
“The conduct outlined in our complaint is outrageous,” said Ferguson in a prepared statement. “Discriminating against workers and retaliating against anyone who questions it is illegal.”
Electroimpact, which is headquartered in Mukilteo but has offices in China, Brazil and the United Kingdom, develops machines that builds aerospace parts for Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier and more.
Zieve is the company’s founder and president. He was linked last year to a campaign to stop the building of the Islamic Center of Mukilteo, including sending an anonymous mailer about the plans to city residents. Mukilteo residents who received the mailing told city officials they found the mailing offensive.
Zieve had discussed with others over email about the “danger” of the mosque project with others who opposed the plans. Those discussions were forwarded to city officials by a resident who was fearful of the mosque.
According to the attorney general’s office, Zieve also encouraged Electroimpact employees to oppose the mosque’s construction.
According to court papers filed in Snohomish County, Zieve would screen out applicants who said they were Muslim, or that he believed were Muslim based on their name, photograph, national origin or other information on the application.
Employees not only were aware of the company’s refusal to hire Muslims, but some encouraged Zieve to continue the practice, according to court papers. One employee was cited in court papers telling Zieve in an email: “Please never hire a Muslim, it would ruin this place for me and I enjoy working here.”
Other employees within the company were encouraged to spread anti-Muslim jokes on a company-maintained email list.
Zieve retaliated against at least two employees who complained about the anti-Muslim jokes, and one of them quit, according to the attorney general’s investigation.
The Attorney General’s Office also said that the Electroimpact engaged in deceptive advertising by describing itself as “an equal opportunity employer.” The company reported to the U.S. Department of Labor that it employs 474 engineers, of whom 448 (or 94.5 percent) are white or Caucasian, 138 (or 2.35 percent) are Asian, and 13 (or 2.35 percent) are either Hispanic, Native American, Pacific Islander or of mixed race.
In addition, the attorney general’s office says, Zieve also paid a “marriage bonus,” and “children bonus” to encourage Electroimpact employees to procreate, promising $1,000 in their paycheck for getting married and a $1,000 gift to the wedding.
“When [our sons and daughters] choose to not repopulate and allow our wonderful country to be backfilled with rubbish from the desperate and criminal populations of the third world[,] I find that to be disgusting and I find those persons to make these decisions to be repulsive and I don’t like them around me,” Zieve told employees in an email cited in the court documents.
According to the Attorney General’s Office, the $485,000 will pay for restitution, damages and costs to enforce anti-discrimination laws and the Consumer Protection Act.
In addition the company agreed to the following:
- Zieve will no longer participate in evaluating individual candidates for non-management positions;
- Electroimpact will no longer base compensation decisions on a change in marital status;
- Someone other than Zieve will be designated to accept employee complaints and the employee handbook will be changed to reflect that Electroimpact prohibits harassment based on all protected classes;
- The company will provide annual trainings about their obligations under the WLAD (the first to take place within 90 days);
- Electroimpact will make reasonable efforts to increase its hiring of minorities, including advertising every internship and full-time employment opportunity to minority engineering organizations, hosting two events with minority student associations at Electroimpact’s facilities on a semi-annual basis, and conducting at least two recruitment events with minority engineering organizations on a semi-annual basis; and
- Electroimpact will provide semi-annual reports to the state including a summary of all complaints made against Electroimpact or its agents in the previous six month period about discrimination or harassment based on religion, national origin or marital status.
The Seattle Globalist: Muslim American engineer, others respond to aerospace exec’s anti-mosque campaign
The Seattle Globalist: Head of Boeing supplier connected to anti-mosque campaign in Mukilteo