Sex Discrimination Allegations Hit National Food Marketer

Women who applied for jobs at one national food marketer were reportedly up against an impossible hiring curve, with systematic discrimination on the basis of their gender, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. black4

Our Costa Mesa sex discrimination attorneys understand that allegations made against the large company include:

  • Vice presidents openly announced a bias against female workers, at one point stating women weren’t capable of doing warehouse work and with one specifically wondering aloud, “Why would we waste our time bringing in females?”
  • One vice president was quoted as saying that women slow down operations and that they needed to implement policies and procedures that would help to remove current female employees from their positions;
  • One branch of the company was reportedly pressured by corporate administrators to fire a female worker, at one point questioning why that branch continued to employ “these girls.”
  • The company refused a promotion to a female worker on the basis of her gender, instead giving the job to a less-qualified and experienced male worker, whom she was forced to train.
  • When handed a resume once from a female employee seeking a promotion, one vice president responded, “I’m not interested in seeing anything from a woman.”

These are serious allegations, and the EEOC has filed suit against the company, purporting that all of this amounted to a pattern or practice of failing to hire female applicants for operative positions. These practices were seen as occurring at the company’s branches nationwide, and has been going on since at least the beginning of 2004.

Among the positions for which women were turned down on the basis of their gender:

  • Yard jockey;
  • Driver;
  • Driver trainee;
  • Driver check-in;
  • Fueler;
  • Receiving clerk;
  • Selector;
  • Forklift operator;
  • Mechanic;
  • Dispatcher;
  • Meat packer;
  • Meat cutter;
  • Sanitation specialist;
  • Router;
  • Warehouse supervisors;
  • Transportation Supervisors.

In its lawsuit, the EEOC said it is seeking compensatory and punitive damages against the firm, recovery of lost wages for the women affected and equitable relief in the form of changed policies within the company to prevent future gender discrimination.

The firm employs some 11,000 people across the country and is responsible for delivering 98,000 brands of food to more than 165,000 independent and chain restaurants, schools, theaters, hotels and health care facilities across the country.

The EEOC pointed out that the kinds of statements made and actions taken here by higher-ups at the firm amounted to “blatant discrimination” that should not be tolerated under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

Sex discrimination should not be confused with sexual harassment, though they are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

Discrimination based on one’s sex involves treating someone – either an employee or an applicant – unfavorably because of that individual’s gender.

By contrast, sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, requests or demands for sexual favors and other types of physical or verbal harassment of a sexual nature. Harassment doesn’t necessarily have to be sexual and might include offensive remarks about a person’s gender.

These actions go beyond simple teasing or an offhand, isolated comment. The actions become illegal when they are so severe or frequent that it creates a hostile working environment or results in opportunities denied to a person on the basis of sex.

Costa Mesa employment lawsuits can be filed with the help of the Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 714-937-2020.

Additional Resources:

EEOC Sues Performance Food Group for Nationwide Sex Discrimination in Hiring, June 17, 2013, Press Release, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission