EEOC Sues Performance Food Group for Nationwide Sex Discrimination in Hiring

by U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Leading National Food Distributor Systematically Refused to Hire Women, Federal Agency Charges

BALTIMORE - A national marketer and distributor of national and proprietary-branded food and food-related products engaged in a pattern or practice of failing to hire female applicants for operative positions at distribution centers nationwide, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, since at least Jan. 1, 2004, Performance Food Group, Inc., and its predecessor, subsidiary and affiliate companies (PFG), have engaged in an ongoing pattern of refusing to hire women for operative positions at their broadline distribution facilities. These operative positions include: selector; receiving clerk; yard jockey; driver; driver trainee; driver check-in; forklift operator; mechanic; dispatcher; fueler; meat cutter; meat packer; router; sanitation specialist; transportation supervisors; and warehouse supervisors.  

PFG senior vice presidents and other high-ranking management officials repeatedly made comments that were tantamount to directing managers to favor males and to discriminate against females in hiring, the EEOC charged. Company vice presidents openly proclaimed a bias against employing women, including stating that women cannot do warehouse work and questioning, "Why would we ever waste our time bringing in females?" Vice presidents also said that women would slow down the operation and that it would be a good idea to get the females "out of here." Company officials also pressured one facility to discharge a female employee and asked why they continued to "hire these girls," the EEOC said in the lawsuit.  

The EEOC further alleged that PFG refused to promote Julie Lawrence to a position for which she was qualified, based on gender. Lawrence's immediate supervisor urged her to apply for a promotion to a nighttime warehouse training supervisor position and gave her resume to a corporate vice president of operations for his consideration. Despite this recommendation, and the company's own policy which says the company's philosophy was to promote from within when possible, the vice president refused to look at Lawrence's resume, stating, "I am not interested in seeing anything from a woman," the EEOC charged.  

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Performance Food Group, Inc., et al.,) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. In its lawsuit, the EEOC seeks injunctive relief prohibiting PFG from refusing to hire or promote women based on sex; equitable relief that provides equal employment opportunities for females; lost wages, compensatory and punitive damages; and other affirmative relief for Lawrence and other similarly situated women who were harmed by PFG's discriminatory conduct.  

"The EEOC has devoted significant resources to ensuring compliance with Title VII through outreach and technical assistance," said EEOC General Counsel David Lopez. "This case demonstrates once again, however, that the EEOC is prepared to use litigation where necessary when employers engage in broad-based patterns of sex discrimination in hiring and promotions."  

EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence said, "This type of blatant discrimination is a priority for the EEOC. No employer has the right to reject female applicants based on outdated stereotypes or biases that women cannot perform jobs in traditionally male-dominated workplaces."  

District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. of the EEOC's Philadelphia District Office added, "The EEOC is committed to eradicating discriminatory barriers in employment that wrongfully prevent women from getting jobs or promotions for which they are qualified."  

Women who believe they may have been denied a position at PFG because of their sex and individuals who may have any information that would be helpful to the EEOC's suit against PFG should contact the EEOC by e-mail at

According to its web site,, Performance Food Group, Inc., employs more than 11,000 people nationwide. The company, through its foodservice distributors, delivers over 98,000 national and proprietary-branded food and food-related products to more than 165,000 independent and national chain restaurants, quick-service eateries, pizzerias, theaters, schools, hotels, healthcare facilities and other institutions.  

Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring, especially class-based recruitment and hiring practices that discriminate against racial, ethnic and religious groups, older workers, women, and people with disabilities, is one of six national priorities identified by the Commission's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP). 

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its website at The Philadelphia District Office of the EEOC oversees Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.