The EEOC has recently alleged that a national marketer and distributor of food products illegally refused to hire female candidates for positions at distribution centers nationwide. The lawsuit states that since at least 2004, the distributor has refused to hire women for a wide range of positions. It has been alleged that senior vice presidents and other management officials made comments, encouraging manager to favor males.
When it comes to fair hiring practices, the EEOC wants to create level playing field and eliminate discriminatory practices in the workplace. In this last year, with the EEOC passing it’s guidance on the use of criminal records in background checks, they attempted to eliminate bias that might come from an individual having a criminal past. In this instance, the EEOC created it’s guidance to ensure criminal records that had nothing to do with the position being hired for were not held against a candidate.
In the aforementioned case of discrimination against women by the national distributing company, the EEOC is seeking to bring to light the other types of discrimination that continue to exist in the work place. When it comes to hiring or promoting, the EEOC wants to ensure that companies have a system that removes any hint of discrimination. In some instances of hiring with the company, the hiring manager was told to not even consider the resumes of women, even prior to giving the applicant an interview or conducting a background check. This case is representative of the gender bias that is still very prevalent in the work place.
Prejudicial treatment is unfortunately alive and well. One of the goals of the EEOC is to focus on cases of what seem to be “systemic” discrimination. This type of “systemic” discrimination is what was behind the creation of the most recent EEOC Guidance, which pushes for the utilization of specific criteria in determining whether criminal history found via a background check can be used to deny employment. It is also the driving force behind pursuing cases like the discrimination issue against this large national distributor. The EEOC wants to see companies give all employees a fair chance at hiring and promotion. Lawsuits such as the one against this national distributor are a way for the EEOC to bring the message that discrimination in the workplace needs to come to end so that all have a fair chance at opportunities.