- Sherwood Food Distributors, LLC, will pay $3.6 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). It also agreed to offer jobs to at least 150 women identified by EEOC. The suit alleged that Sherwood violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by discriminating against female applicants at its warehouses in Cleveland and Detroit.
- EEOC said that since 2009, Sherwood has refused to hire women for entry-level positions because of their gender. Entry-level warehouse employees carry out customer orders by collecting products from warehouse storage systems, according to the consent decree. The agency also said that Sherwood made no records about the company's alleged discriminatory hiring practices.
- In addition to the $3.6 million and the 150 hires, Sherwood will also need to make electronic data tracking applicant flow logs and submit the information to the EEOC. It will need to disclose the number of women and men who apply for entry-level warehouse positions, how many of each gender were hired for the positions and the company's process in meeting hiring goals. The EEOC said it will monitor Sherwood's hiring practices and the company's compliance over the next five years.
Title VII forbids employers from discriminating against employees or applicants based on sex, race, color, religion or national origin. Many employers maintain EEO policies, but hiring managers also must be trained on that policy, and leadership has to back the policy's promise.
One-time training, however, isn't always enough. HR can be on the lookout for issues, noting that a certain manager only hires applicants of one gender, for example, and working to figure out why.
Moreover, a workplace culture that embodies an employer's policies is key. As more companies seek to create a diverse workforce, they're realizing that an inclusive culture must follow. After all, a workplace won't enjoy the benefits of diversity unless leaders work to create a culture that ensures all employee feel included and valued.