POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jul 12, 2013
LIHUE » A 32-year-old senior engineer with the Kauai County Water Department has sued the county, alleging it discriminated against him for being too young.
The discrimination against Dustin Lee Moises started in 2010, when he was demoted and his pay was cut, according to the lawsuit. The following year, the county Department of Personnel Services told the Water Department he would be downgraded because he was too young, Moises said.
The Garden Island newspaper reported Moises filed the suit in state court in Lihue on Monday. He's seeking damages equal to the wages and benefits he says he was illegally denied.
Defendants include the county and the Department of Personnel Services.
Kauai County spokeswoman Mary Daubert says the county doesn't comment on litigation or personnel matters.
Moises said the Water Department is a small and partially autonomous office where people often work beyond their job description out of necessity.
Moises gained senior engineer, design and construction experience a decade before he would expect to reach that level after several colleagues retired in a short period. But he said the Personnel Services Department didn't give him adequate credit for his work experience and stuck to the letter of official occupation titles.
His work experience should count toward promotional opportunities, he said.
In 2011, Moises applied for a higher-grade management job posted by the county. But he received a letter from Personnel Services notifying him that the position was canceled. He applied the following month for a county-advertised chief of water operations position but was advised by personnel services he lacked the required experience.
Moises appealed the decision and was partially granted his appeal. But Personnel Services filled the position while he was awaiting the outcome of the appeal.
Soon after, the Department of Water proposed creating a new construction management position. But the position was downgraded the day after Moises submitted an application.