Just in case you thought the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was easing up: The agency recently resolved two separate discrimination cases to the tune of about $164k.
Seymour Midwest, a Warsaw, Ind. hand tool manufacturing company, will pay $100,000 and furnish other relief to resolve an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC.
According the agency’s suit, Seymour Midwest selected Steve Maril from a pool of applicants for its senior vice president of sales position to participate in an initial, email-based interview. In addition to questions about Maril’s experience and willingness to relocate, Seymour Midwest asked if he was within its ideal age range of 45-52. When Seymour Midwest learned Maril was older than their ideal age range, Seymour Midwest refused to hire him.
The EEOC filed suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, charging that Seymour had violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
The consent decree resolving the suit obligates Seymour Midwest, in addition to providing monetary relief, to stop collecting age information about applicants before making a job offer, train its hiring personnel, issue and post notice from its president of its commitment to federal nondiscrimination laws, and periodic compliance reporting.
Pay bias tab: $63,500
In another recent case, Gilbert Foods LLC, trading as Hearn-Kirkwood, a food service distributor, was ordered to pay $63,500 and furnish significant equitable relief to resolve a pay discrimination and retaliation lawsuit.
EEOC charged that Hearn-Kirkwood paid Sonia Coates, an order selector, less than it paid male order selectors, even though she had more experience and performed equal work at its Hanover, Md. facility. When Coates learned that Hearn-Kirkwood paid a newly-hired male order selector significantly more per hour than she was earning, she told coworkers she intended to file a charge of discrimination.
According to the lawsuit, after a Hearn-Kirkwood manager learned about Coates’s plan to file a charge, he informed Coates’s supervisor that Hearn-Kirkwood intended to fire her without making it appear unlawful. Hearn-Kirkwood engaged in a pattern of retaliation, including unwarranted disciplinary actions that culminated in Coates’ termination, EEOC said.
The agency said the company’s alleged conduct violated the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and filed suit U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Maryland.
In addition to the $63,500 in back pay, compensatory damages and attorney’s fees to Coates, the three-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit enjoins Hearn-Kirkwood from engaging in sex-based wage discrimination or retaliation.
Hearn-Kirkwood will provide training on the laws prohibiting pay discrimination and other forms of employment discrimination to management and human resources officers.
The company will also report to the EEOC about its compliance with the consent decree, including how it handled any internal complaints of sex-based wage discrimination, and it will post a notice about the settlement.