U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Banking Giant Failed to Hire Oklahoma City Woman Because of Gender, Federal Agency Charged
OKLAHOMA CITY – Bank of the West, one of the nation’s largest banks, will pay $48,000 and furnish other relief to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
The lawsuit was filed on July 22, 2011, and settled only five days later. In addition to the $48,000 payment, Bank of the West has agreed to take specified actions designed to prevent future discrimination, including the posting of notices to employees, re-dissemination of anti-discrimination policies and providing anti-discrimination training to employees.
In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that Bank of the West refused to hire an Oklahoma City woman for the position of branch manager of its Quail Creek branch because of her gender. Although the managers with hiring authority acknowledged that she was the best-qualified candidate for the job, they claimed they denied her the job because she stated she needed two weeks before starting to make child care arrangements. They then hired a male applicant despite his having informed them that he also needed two weeks before starting to make child care arrangements. Bank of the West denies that it discriminated against the female applicant.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. The EEOC filed suit (Case No. 11-cv-0834-D) in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement out of court through its conciliation process.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” said Patrick Holman, trial attorney for the EEOC. “We believe that when Bank of the West fully understood what happened, it took action to correct its unequal treatment, as this quick settlement demonstrates. We are hopeful that with education and closer scrutiny of lower management, discriminatory actions can be prevented, saving its employees and applicants from unlawful treatment and itself significant costs.”
“Over 45 years after the passage of Title VII, discrimination against women in the workplace continues to be a problem,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Barbara Seely. “Corporate America must be more vigilant in guarding against job bias affecting female workers or risk action and exposure by the EEOC.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.