Posts Tagged ‘sex discrimination’

EEOC: Gender Bias Cost Woman Chef’s Job

We’d like to think that these retrograde views on women no longer affect employers’ promotion decisions, but if the allegations in this case are proven that’s clearly not the case.

Morrison Management Specialists Inc., a division of Compass Group USA Inc., unlawfully denied a promotion to a female shift supervisor to an open sous chef position because of her gender, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC’s suit, Patricia Joyce was employed the company’s University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) location in Galveston, Texas, when a sous chef position opened. Joyce applied and was interviewed for the position, along with two male applicants. Thereafter, in a meeting with Executive Chef Jeff Inman, Joyce learned that an external male applicant had been selected for the position. Inman informed Joyce that he believed that the professional kitchen is a “man’s world” and he wanted to get it back to being that way. Joyce objected to the sentiment. Inman told her she needed to transfer to another of the company’s locations because she was no longer a good fit at the Galveston location. He subsequently reiterated these beliefs in an email to her.

A few weeks later, following a complaint to the company’s human resources department about his actions towards Joyce, Inman sent her a second email, again confirming his position that the kitchen is a “man’s world,” telling her that she would never be a sous chef with the company and she had better take the transfer to the other location. He also very strongly objected to human resources having been contacted about him, telling her that he was a “god” at Compass Group USA and that the company would not believe her. As a result, Joyce was subjected to a compulsory transfer and demotion since, following the transfer, she was no longer a supervisor and experienced a cut in her pay.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex with regard to promotions. In addition, employers are prohibited from retaliating against an employee or applicant because the person opposed discriminatory conduct. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Galveston Division (Civil Action No. 3:18-cv-00057) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation processes.

The EEOC is seeking injunctive relief to prohibit the Compass Group USA from engaging in future unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex, instatement of Joyce into a sous chef position, back pay, compensatory and punitive damages for Joyce and any other relief the court deems proper.

“Employers’ biased views and stereotypes about gender roles have no place in the workplace,” said Rayford O. Irvin, district director of the Houston District Office of the EEOC. “The Houston District will vigorously enforce the laws that prohibit sex discrimination and retaliation against workers who have the courage to stand against it.”

Rudy Sustaita, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Houston District Office, added, “Employers cannot act on their own stereotypic assumptions and perceptions about gender when making employment decisions. Such conduct is illegal.”

EEOC’s Houston District Office is located on the sixth floor of the Leland Federal Building at 1919 Smith Street Houston, Texas.


$105K Owed to Female Sales Rep at Calif. Company Who Was Paid Less Than Male Rep

It took a year for a California company to make good on its obligation to pay a female salesperson the same as her male counterpart.

Spec Formliners, Inc., a Santa Ana, Calif.-based business, will pay $105,000 and provide other relief to settle an equal pay lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced on Wednesday.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, filed in November 2016, Spec Formliners paid a female sales representative less than a male sales representative in base pay. The EEOC also contended that the company required the female sales representative to sell more to earn the same commission as her male colleague.

Such alleged conduct violates the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed its lawsuit on Nov. 17, 2016 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (EEOC v. Spec Formliners, Inc., Case No. 8:16-cv-02066-BRO-AJW) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

As part of the consent decree settling the suit, Spec Formliners will pay $105,000 to the former employee. In addition to the monetary relief, Spec Formliners also agreed to retain external equal employment opportunity consultants who will assist the company in creating, reviewing and revising its policies and practices to ensure compliance with Title VII and the EPA. The external EEO consultants will also assist the company in conducting fair pay audits, reviewing and revising its recruitment practices, and preparing annual reports for the EEOC on the company’s progress. Spec Formliners further agreed to conduct anti-discrimination training and distribute the revised policies to all employees. The EEOC will monitor Spec Formliners’ progress with the 2.5-year decree.

“We commend Spec Formliners for agreeing to put measures in place that will help remove barriers for female sales representatives and ensure equal pay for equal work,” said Anna Park, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Los Angeles District, which includes Orange County in its jurisdiction. “Employees will do their best work when they know that their efforts are fairly compensated.”

Rosa Viramontes, director of the agency’s Los Angeles District Office, added, “The changes that will be implemented as part of this settlement will ensure that female sales representatives will receive fair compensation for sales equal to those of their male counterparts. This not only benefits female employees, but also the company as a whole.”

According to the company’s website,, Spec Formliners creates and customizes form liner patterns for concrete projects.

Male Employee Denied Position in Maternity Home Program Has EEOC in His Legal Corner

The Children’s Home, Inc., a Tampa non-profit children’s organization, violated federal law when it refused to consider a male employee for a management position in a maternity home program based on his sex, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charged in a lawsuit it filed October 3. Further, after voicing his concerns about not be considered because he is a male, he was excluded from applying for any other positions with the organization, the EEOC said.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Children’s Home’s upper management and human resources personnel discouraged a male manager, Luis Vasquez, from internally applying to a position in a newly created Adolescent Motherhood Program, which was similar to his then-existing position. The EEOC said that Vasquez was told that management “wasn’t sure if they would accept males to work at the new motherhood program,” and asked, “… can you imagine males changing pampers, working with babies and with pregnant girls?”

Vasquez sought a new position with the organization because the program where he was employed didn’t receive renewed funding. Soon after complaining about the refusal to consider him because of his sex, he was advised that there were no other positions available at the organization for him. Vasquez’s less-experienced female subordinate was selected for the newly created position, the EEOC said.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. The Children’s Home, Inc., Case No. 8:17-cv-02262-EAK-JSS) in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division after attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

“Just as Title VII protects women in the workplace from the gender-based assumption that they always have to be familial caretakers, it also protects men from the stereotype that they cannot hold positions viewed to have such caretaking functions,” said Evangeline Hawthorne, director for the Tampa Field Office.

Robert E. Weisberg, regional attorney for the Miami District Office, added, “Employees must not be prevented from work opportunities based on outdated stereotypes of ‘a man’s role’ in maternity and childcare matters. Employment decisions based on such stereotypes violate federal law and the EEOC will vigorously oppose them.”

The Children’s Home is a non-profit organization that provides programs and services to children-in-need and their families in Central Florida.

EEOC: Company Took Back Job Offer After Finding Out Male Applicant Was Transgender

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is sticking to its position that sex discrimination includes against persons who are transgender.

A&E Tire, Inc., a Colorado chain of automotive service shops, violated federal law by retracting a job offer and refusing to hire a male applicant once it was discovered that he was transgender, the EEOC charged in a lawsuit filed Sept. 29.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Egan Woodward applied for a services manager position at A&E Tire’s Denver location, and after his interview he was offered the position pending a drug test and background check. The application and background screening paperwork used by A&E Tire asked Woodward for his sex and for any other names he used in the past. In completing the application and paperwork, Woodward identified his assigned sex at birth and indicated he used another name typically associated with the female sex in the past.

Less than an hour after A&E Tire extended Woodward a job offer, he received a call from a manager asking him if there were a mistake in his paperwork, the EEOC said. When Woodward stated there was not, A&E never got back to him about completing the screenings or a start date and ultimately hired someone else for the position, the agency said.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on sex, including transgender status and sex-based stereotypes. The EEOC filed its lawsuit, EEOC v. A&E Tire, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:17cv-02362-STV, in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado after first attempting to reach a settlement through its pre-litigation conciliation process. The lawsuit seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, as well as appropriate injunctive relief to prevent similar such discriminatory practices in the future.

The lawsuit announced today is part of the EEOC’s ongoing efforts to implement its Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP), which it renewed in 2016. The SEP includes “[p]rotecting lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) people from discrimination based on sex” as a Commission enforcement priority.

“Despite the significant legal and cultural progress we have made as a country in recent years respecting the rights of transgender workers, a lot of work remains to be done in rooting out stereotypes and prejudice,” said the regional attorney for the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office, Mary O’Neill.

Elizabeth Cadle, district director for the Phoenix District Office, said, “Transgender individuals want to work and give to the economy, sharing their skills and ideas just like anyone else. They should not be deprived of the right and ability to do so just because of unfounded fears, misconceptions, and biases.”

EEOC Takes Estee Lauder to Court Over Paid Parental Leave More Generous to Its Women

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has targeted another employer over a parental leave policy more generous to one gender than the other.

Estée Lauder Companies, Inc., one of the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of skin care, makeup, fragrance and hair care products, violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Equal Pay Act when it implemented and administered a paid parental leave program that automatically provides male employees who are new fathers lesser parental leave benefits than are provided to female employees who are new mothers, the  EEOC alleged in a lawsuit it announced today.

According to the suit, in 2013 Estée Lauder adopted a new parental leave program to provide employees with paid leave for purposes of bonding with a new child, as well as flexible return-to-work benefits when the child bonding leave expired. Under its parental leave program, in addition to paid leave already provided to new mothers to recover from childbirth, Estée Lauder also provides eligible new mothers an additional six weeks of paid parental leave for child bonding.  Estée Lauder only offers new fathers whose partners have given birth two weeks of paid leave for child bonding.  The suit also alleges that new mothers are provided with flexible return-to-work benefits upon expiration of child bonding leave that are not similarly provided to new fathers.

The case arose when a male employee working as a stock person in an Estée Lauder store in Maryland sought parental leave benefits after his child was born.  He requested, and was denied, the six weeks of child-bonding leave that biological mothers automatically receive, and was allowed only two weeks of leave to bond with his newborn child.  Such conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) and the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which prohibit discrimination in pay or benefits based on sex.  The suit seeks relief for the affected employee, and other male employees who were denied equal parental leave benefits because of their sex.

The EEOC’s Washington Field Office investigated the charge of discrimination that led to this suit. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Estée Lauder Companies, Inc., Civil Action No. —) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. As part of the suit, the EEOC is seeking back pay and compensatory and punitive damages on behalf of the aggrieved class members, as well as injunctive relief.

“It is wonderful when employers provide paid parental leave and flexible work arrangements, but federal law requires equal pay, including benefits, for equal work, and that applies to men as well as women,” said EEOC Washington Field Office Acting Director Mindy Weinstein.

EEOC Philadelphia District Office Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence added, “Addressing sex-based pay discrimination, including in benefits such as paid leave, is a priority issue for the Commission.”

EEOC Outs Parking Mgmt. Co. For Rejecting Applicant Because of “Physicality of Job”

Stereotypes about age and gender were factors in the decision by a Georgia parking management company to reject a 60-year-old female applicant for a valet job, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it recently filed.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, on or about Jan. 12, 2016, 60-year-old Valencia Hayden applied for a valet position with Eagle Parking. During her interview, the operations manager looked at Hayden’s application and told her that she would not be successful as a valet because of the “physicality of the job.”  Instead, the operations manager told Hayden that she would be perfect for a customer service position and told Hayden to come back the following week to attend orientation. The day before she was scheduled to begin her new positon, Hayden called to ask what time she should report. However, the operations manager told Hayden that the job had already been filled. Eagle Parking’s records show that, after Hayden was interviewed, it hired several male valets and customer service employees who were substantially younger than Hayden.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The EEOC filed suit (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Eagle Parking, LLC, Civil Action No. 1:17-cv-2904-TWT-CMS) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The federal agency seeks back pay, compensa­tory damages, punitive damages and liquidated damages for Hayden, as well as injunctive relief designed to prevent such discrimination in the future.

“This suit sends a strong message to employers that applicants must be judged strictly on their ability to perform the job, and not on stereotypes associated with their gender and age,” said Bernice Williams-Kimbrough, director of the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office.

Antonette Sewell, regional attorney for the Atlanta District Office, added, “What is most disturbing about this case is that the hiring official automatically assumed that Ms. Hayden was not qualified to work as a valet or customer service parking manager because of her age and the fact that she is a woman. Such managerial behavior is not legal or acceptable in the 21st century.”

Health Center That Ordered Male Technician’s Firing Settles Title VII Lawsuit Filed by EEOC

The other legal shoe has dropped in a gender discrimination lawsuit the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed on behalf of a man who was fired from his job as an ultrasound because of his gender.

The EEOC announced settlement on Thursday of this lawsuit against Nevada Health Centers, which agreed to pay $35,000 to close the litigation.

According to the EEOC’s suit, from 2010 to 2013, Nevada Health Centers and Ultracare Las Vegas had a service contract whereby the placement agency Ultracare provided Nevada Health with ultra­sound technicians. In November 2012, Ultracare hired David Matlock as an ultrasound technician and placed him at Nevada Health. Within weeks of his placement, Nevada Health asked Ultracare to remove Mr. Matlock solely because of his gender. Ultracare complied with Nevada Health’s request and terminated Matlock’s employment at Nevada Health in the first week of January 2013.

The EEOC filed suit in June 2016, charging that Nevada Health and Ultracare terminated David Matlock because of his gender in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 [EEOC v. Nevada Health Centers, Inc, Ultracare Las Vegas, Case No. 2:16-cv-01495-JAD-PAL]. Ultracare entered into a settlement agreement with the EEOC for $15,000, which was approved by the Court on March 20. The court approved the consent decree as to the remaining defendant, Nevada Health Centers, on July 6.

In addition to monetary relief, Nevada Health will implement injunctive relief focused on ensuring equal employment opportunities for its employees, regardless of gender. The company agreed to review and revise its anti-discrimination policy to ensure it prohibits discrimination and contains a process for prompt handling of discrimination complaints. Nevada Health also agreed train its manage­ment on the importance of non-discrimination in the recruitment and hiring of its employees, and further agreed to report any gender discrimination complaints and provide reports on its recruitment and hiring practices. The EEOC will monitor compliance with the two-and-a-half-year decree.

“Outdated stereotypes in the health care industry cannot be used to categorically exclude emp­loyees from certain jobs based on gender,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office, which includes Las Vegas in its jurisdiction.

Christine Park-Gonzalez, acting local director of the EEOC’s Las Vegas Local Office, added, “Employers have an obligation to comply with the prohibition on sex discrimination in federal law and should examine their practices to ensure that gender bias is not impacting employment decisions.”

According to its website,, Nevada Health Centers is a non-profit organization that provides 15 health center locations and mobile service providers throughout Nevada.