A gender discrimination case brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Seattle-based tire company Les Schwab Tires has finally been resolved after a four-year court battle. The company – which sells tires in 400 centers throughout Nevada, Utah, California, Idaho, Montano, Oregon, and Washington – has agreed to pay out $2 million to plaintiffs as part of an extensive resolution. In addition, Les Schwab will now train all of its employees and managers about gender discrimination and harassment — in particular, it will emphasize the importance of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Also, Les Schwab will submit regular reports to the EEOC that specify how the company is complying with the consent decree – to make sure that gender discrimination does not recur.
Both sides seemed pleased with outcome. Les Schwab, for its part, seems relieved to end the long struggle, which has not been exactly terrific for publicity. The EEOC and the plaintiffs also seem pleased by the size and scope of the settlement. An EEOC attorney, William Tamayo, was quoted as saying: “we are pleased to work with Les Schwab to bring this case to a resolution and to start a new era of cooperation. ” The company’s Vice President of HR echoed this sentiment: “resolution of this dispute allows Les Schwab to continue its strong focus on supporting our employees.”
The philosophical implications of this resolution are certainly noteworthy. Male workers have long dominated the tire service sector. The case against Les Schwab indicates that, culturally, we may be moving towards leveling the gender playing field in various occupations. Of course, this debate – both legal and philosophical – will no doubt continue as Americans wrestle with questions of equal opportunity and how differences between genders may or may not apply in the workplace.
If you or a co-worker or a friend has experienced gender discrimination or sexual harassment (or retaliation for complaining about harassment or discrimination), you may have a case against your employer. To get a free consultation with knowledgeable, compassionate experts in workplace discrimination, connect with the firm of Joseph & Kirschenbaum at (212) 688-5640, or head to www.jhllp.com to learn more about us.