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Eye On Boise

Idaho Industrial Commission faces civil rights complaint

A group of Idaho workers have brought a civil rights complaint against the state's worker compensation agency for only providing services in English, the AP reports. Erik Johnson, an attorney with Idaho Legal Aid Services, filed the federal complaint against the Idaho Industrial Commission on behalf of the workers late last week, charging that the state agency turned the workers away because they only speak Spanish, in some cases telling them that they would have to find and pay for their own interpreters to access services.

Federal rules prohibit agencies that receive federal funds from discriminating against people based on their race or national origin. The Idaho Industrial Commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Associated Press.

AP reporter Rebecca Boone has a full report here; she reports that according to the lawsuit, the Industrial Commission used to have brochures in Spanish, but the governor told the panel to get rid of them to carry out Idaho's English-only law, and the state has taken the position that it uses no federal funds in its workers compensation program, so it's complying with all applicable rules.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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