The Kenneth O. Lester Company, Inc., also known as PFG Customized Distribution – Indiana, has agreed to pay $709,971 and implement substantial non-monetary remedies to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), as announced by the federal agency today.

The lawsuit, initiated by the EEOC, claimed that from 2018 onwards, PFG Customized Distribution consistently denied female applicants for order selector roles based on their sex at their warehouse in Kendallville, Indiana. The EEOC alleged that the hiring authorities, management, supervisors, HR staff, and recruiters openly cited sex as a factor for the role, communicating to female candidates that the company preferred men for order selector positions.

Further allegations by the EEOC suggested that PFG Customized Distribution unfairly assigned females to the small-wares section of the warehouse, a position offering lower earning potential.

This supposed conduct infringes Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which forbids the use of sex-based criteria in employment. The EEOC proceeded to file the lawsuit (EEOC v. Kenneth O. Lester Company, Inc. d/b/a PFG Customized Distribution – Indiana, Case No. 1:22-cv-329-HAB) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana after initial attempts to secure a voluntary settlement prior to litigation fell through.

The lawsuit has been settled through a three-year consent decree, which entails a $650,000 monetary relief for the group of female applicants who were denied jobs, $39,971 for the woman who initiated the EEOC charge, and $20,000 for the group of women subjected to discriminatory work assignments based on their sex.

The decree also prohibits PFG Customized Distribution from refusing to hire women for order selector roles due to their sex, assigning work based on sex, or engaging in any form of retaliation in the future.

Moreover, PFG Customized Distribution will implement non-monetary remedies, including offering job preferences to eligible female applicants who were previously denied order selector roles, revising its hiring practices, conducting equal employment opportunity training, and submitting to ongoing scrutiny and reporting to ensure future legal compliance.

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