Former sect member's discrimination case settled

FLDS Deal closes suit against Jeffs, church, cabinet company

The Salt Lake Tribune/March 2, 2009

An employment discrimination lawsuit brought by a former member against polygamous sect leader Warren S. Jeffs, the FLDS church and a sect-owned cabinet-making company is over.

Attorneys reached a settlement in the six-year-old federal lawsuit brought by Shem Fischer at midnight on Thursday, according to Salt Lake City attorney Rod Parker.

The agreement includes a financial settlement with Forestwood Inc., of Hildale, but Parker declined to comment on details. The case had been slated for a five-day trial beginning Monday.

Fischer claimed he was fired by Forestwood Inc. in 2000 because he protested the firing of another worker and was later turned away for rehiring because he had left the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Fischer initially sued just the cabinet business, but later added Jeffs and the FLDS church as defendants.

Fischer claimed Erwin Fischer, his father and president of Forestwood, told him he could not work for the cabinet company because he was fighting against the priesthood.

An appeals court rejected Fischer's wrongful termination claim, saying he had resigned his position. The court, however, said Fischer could pursue the discrimination allegation.

Fischer was awarded a $338,411 judgment against Jeffs and the FLDS church in March 2005. He collected $135,000 of that from money seized in a traffic stop involving Seth Jeffs, Warren's brother, in Colorado in October of that year.

The settlement, which is to be finalized by October, addresses all entities and outstanding judgments, Parker said.

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