EEOC Settles Female Miner Discrimination and Retaliation Case For $690,000
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
has announced the $690,000 resolution of its gender-based lawsuit against Alaska gold mining outfit Northern Star LLC, formerly Sumitomo Metal Mining Pogo (Pogo).
The government alleged Pogo discriminated against female underground
miner Hanna Hurst by refusing to promote her despite promoting male co-workers with less seniority or training. In response to Hurst’s protestations, Pogo allegedly retaliated by imposing additional training requirements to rise through the ranks that did not apply to her male counterparts.
In a “consent decree” the company must post for the next three years,
Pogo agreed to pay Hurst $690,000 in lost wages and damages and to hire an independent expert to develop and implement policies, procedures and training to ensure equal employment. In addition, Pogo will provide anti-discrimination training to all personnel, report to the EEOC all complaints based on discrimination and retaliation, and post a notice to employees about the consent decree and employees’ rights.
EEOC Senior Trial Attorney May Che commented,
“During Hanna’s employment, Pogo had a discretionary promotion policy applied by male supervisors, who repeatedly showed overt hostility and sexist attitudes toward women at the mine, which ensured that no woman made it to the top-level mining positions.”
This case is another example of why employers should take all appropriate measures
to ensure equal promotion opportunity to all qualified employees, including implementation of procedures to promptly investigate and resolve employee discrimination complaints of any kind, in consultation with experienced legal counsel as needed.
• The Best Offense Is a Good Defense (June, 2019).
• Dads are people too (September, 2018).
• Unlawful Retaliation Defined (September 2016)
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