- The U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission has sued American Freight Furniture and Mattress, alleging that the company violated federal nondiscrimination law by refusing to hire female applicants because of their sex.
- Since 2013, the Ohio-based retailer intentionally excluded qualified women from sales and warehouse jobs because of their sex, violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, EEOC alleged in its suit. Corporate managers within the company told store managers not to hire women because they "complain and make trouble," EEOC said. Store employees told investigators they heard store managers say that women "bitch too much," are a "distraction" to male employees, can't lift and do not "do as great a job at selling furniture as men," according to the lawsuit.
- The lawsuit seeks financial relief, including back pay and compensatory and punitive damages, for the class of female applicants allegedly denied employment because of the company's practices.
Title VII forbids covered employers from discriminating against employees and applicants on the basis of gender in every aspect of employment, including hiring.
Policies, procedures and training can be a good start in preventing and correcting discrimination, and many employers already have those in place. But some discrimination problems necessitate a broader solution.
If training is forgotten or ignored, employers may need to focus on repairing corporate culture at all levels. Most directors responding to a recent PwC survey said corporate culture problems start with the tone set by the executive team. To fix those problems, most said they enhanced employee training or development programs, while others focused on or improved whistleblower initiatives. Few, however, added a culture- or engagement-focused component to existing strategic plans.