- Ferman Automotive Group and Cigar City Motors, owners and operators of the Tampa Harley-Davidson dealership, passed over a qualified female employee nine times for its general manager positions, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleged in a sex discrimination lawsuit.
- The employer repeatedly promoted males to vacant general manager positions even though a female general sales manager expressed an interest in the vacancies and was equally or more qualified than the male candidates, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, EEOC said. The agency also alleged that Ferman required her to participate in a mentorship program to be eligible for promotion but did not require the same of the men.
- "The EEOC has long fought to protect women from hitting the glass ceiling in all professions and from the outdated stereotypes about women in leadership which continue to persist," said Evangeline Hawthorne, an EEOC field director, in a statement. "EEOC will continue to enforce the law to ensure that employers afford women the same promotional opportunities as men."
Employers need to ensure that employees are evaluated on objective — and standardized — criteria, experts say. This is true not only for hiring and promotion decisions, but also for performance evaluations.
GoDaddy, for example, has spent much time examining how bias can creep into the performance review process. Unconscious bias training is great, but you can’t undo bias with one training, the company's former VP of global engagement and inclusion previously told HR Dive. “So instead, we decided to weave it into conversations with employees,” she said. They asked managers to really look at whether they evaluate men and women using the same criteria. For example, women are often judged based on communication and style, while men are often judged on what they’re getting done and how they’re doing it, Van Horn explained.
In addition, its crucial that employers document all such actions. From disability accommodation discussions to sexual harassment investigations, employment law attorneys say that documentation about decision-making can make or break a defense to lawsuits like these.