Food Rite Community Supermarket Settles EEOC Sex Discrimination Lawsuit

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

Richmond  Store Denied Qualified Female Applicant Van Driver Job, Lawsuit Charged

RICHMOND, Va. - Lee's Food Corp., doing business as Food  Rite Community Super­market, will pay $10,500 and provide other relief to  settle a sex discrim­ination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment  Opportunity Commission (EEOC) the agency announced today.

According  to the EEOC's lawsuit, Food Rite refused to hire Deborah Newell for a vacant  part-time courtesy van driver position because of her gender.  The EEOC charged that in October 2012, Newell  saw an online job advertisement for a part-time courtesy driver position at  Food Rite Community Supermarket in Richmond.   Newell, who met all the job's qualifications, went to the Food Rite, where  she spoke to the store manager about her interest in the vacant driver  position.  The EEOC said the manager told  Newell that he would not hire a woman for the courtesy van driver position out  of concern that a female driver would be at greater risk of being assaulted on  the job than a male driver.   Approximately five days after Newell inquired about the courtesy van  driver position, the store hired a male candidate for the position, the EEOC said.

Sex discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights  Act of 1964.  The EEOC filed suit in the  Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond Division (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Lee's Food Corp. d/b/a Food  Rite Community Supermarket, Civil Action No.3:13cv838) after first  attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation  process.

In addition to monetary damages, the three-year consent  decree resolving the lawsuit includes injunctive relief prohibiting the company  from discriminating on the basis of sex in the future, and from retaliating  against employees who resist unlawful discrimination or complain about it.  The settlement also provides that Lee's Food  Corp. will implement an employment policy prohibiting sex discrimination; conduct  training for all employees; post an employee notice about the settlement;  provide a copy of its anti-discrimination policy to all employees; and report discrimination  complaints to the EEOC.

 "Denying a qualified applicant a job because  of her sex is unjust and unlawful, no matter if the discrimination results from  a 'concern' for women's safety," said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for  the EEOC's Charlotte District Office.  "That  decision is a woman's alone to make for herself. All people should be allowed  an equal opportunity to compete for jobs for which they are qualified."

The EEOC is  responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination.  Further information is available at


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.

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