PFG Customized Distribution – Indiana, operated by Kenneth O. Lester Company, Inc., has agreed to pay $709,971 and implement considerable corrective measures to resolve a federal gender discrimination lawsuit lodged by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal body reported today.

As per the EEOC’s lawsuit, PFG Customized Distribution has allegedly been denying female applicants order selector roles due to their gender at its warehouse in Kendallville, Indiana since 2018. The complaint further claims that company officials, supervisors, HR personnel, and recruiters explicitly expressed gender-biased preferences for the order selector job, even going so far as to tell female applicants that the firm preferred to hire men for these positions.

The EEOC additionally argued that the company unjustly designated females to the small-wares section of the warehouse, limiting their income potential.

Such purported actions violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which forbids employment decisions based on sex. The EEOC initiated 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, only after efforts to achieve a voluntary settlement prior to litigation through its conciliation process proved unsuccessful.

The consent decree that settles the lawsuit provides a compensation of $650,000 to the group of female applicants not hired, $39,971 to the female applicant who filed the original EEOC charge, and $20,000 to a group of females who were subjected to gender-based work assignments.

The decree also prohibits PFG Customized Distribution from denying women order selector roles due to their sex, assigning work based on gender, and engaging in retaliatory actions in the future.

Furthermore, the company will implement corrective measures, which include prioritizing qualified female applicants who were refused order selector roles in hiring; revising its recruitment policies and procedures; and providing equal employment opportunity training. To ensure future compliance with the law, PFG will undergo regular reporting and monitoring procedures.

Kenneth Bird, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Indianapolis District Office, stated, “This case highlights the EEOC’s commitment to instigating classwide litigation to eliminate discriminatory hiring and assignment obstacles that women encounter in the workplace.”

Michelle Eisele, EEOC Indianapolis District Director, added, “The EEOC is dedicated to eliminating systemic barriers to employment based on sex or other protected traits. We are determined to guarantee that all workers receive equal opportunities for recruitment and progression.”

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