Leading National Food Distributor Systematically Refused to Hire Women, Federal Agency Charged
BALTIMORE – Performance Food Group, Inc. (PFG), a national marketer and distributor of national and proprietary-branded food and food-related products, will pay $5,075,000 in monetary relief and furnish significant equitable relief to settle a federal nationwide sex discrimination lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, since at least 2004, PFG has engaged in an ongoing pattern or practice of failing to hire a class of female applicants for operative positions at its Broadline facilities. The EEOC also charged that PFG failed to promote a qualified female employee into the position of nighttime warehouse training supervisor at its Carroll County Foods facility in Maryland based on her sex.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Performance Food Group, Inc., et al., Civil Action No. 1:13-cv-01712-CCB) 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.
The five-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit provides $5,000,000 in monetary relief to the class of female applicants who were not hired and $75,000 in monetary relief to the female worker who was not promoted. The consent decree enjoins PFG from failing to hire women to selector or driver positions because of their sex and from engaging in retaliation.
In addition, PFG will implement equitable relief, including: hiring a Vice President of Diversity to ensure that hiring decisions for selector and driver positions are made without regard to sex, to oversee the company’s compliance with the terms of the consent decree, and to report to EEOC; giving hiring preference to class members who are qualified female applicants; conducting affirmative recruitment activities towards qualified female applicants for its selector and driver workforce; revising management performance evaluations; and agreeing not to reemploy two former vice presidents of operations implicated in EEOC’s complaint.
“Women continue to be excluded from traditionally male-dominated industries and occupations based upon misconceived and outdated notions about their abilities,” said Maria Salacuse, EEOC Assistant General Counsel. “The EEOC will pursue class-wide litigation to eliminate discriminatory barriers that women face in the workplace - especially in the hiring process.”
EEOC Philadelphia Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence added, “We are pleased that PFG worked with us to craft a comprehensive settlement that provides monetary relief to women who were already passed over for selector and driver positions, and that ensures equal opportunity for women by revamping its recruiting and hiring process.”
EEOC District Director Jamie R. Williamson said, “Eliminating systemic barriers to employment based on sex or other protected characteristics remains an EEOC enforcement priority. The EEOC is committed to ensuring that all workers have an equal opportunity for hiring and advancement.”
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.
The lawsuit was commenced by EEOC's Baltimore Field Office, one of four component offices of EEOC's Philadelphia District Office. The EEOC's Philadelphia District Office has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the EEOC Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.