Minnesota Medical Device Company Refused to Hire Women and Older Applicants for Sales Jobs, Federal Agency Charged
MINNEAPOLIS - A Chanhassen, Minn.-based medical device and equipment manufacturer will pay $1,020,000 and furnish other relief to settle an age and sex discrimination lawsuit by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today. EEOC said PMT Corporation violated federal civil rights laws by refusing to hire otherwise qualified applicants for outside sales positions because they were female or over the age of 40.
According to EEOC's lawsuit, PMT engaged in a pattern or practice of systemic hiring discrimination when, between Jan. 1, 2007 and late 2010, it hired over 70 individuals as sales representatives, but not a single applicant who was female or over 40 years of age. The lawsuit further alleged that this result was intentional and directed by PMT's owner and president.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). EEOC filed its lawsuit in March 2014, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. PMT Corporation; Civil Action No. 0:14-cv-00599, (D. Minn.) (DSD / TNL), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
The suit was resolved late on March 4, when U.S. District Judge David S. Doty of the District of Minnesota approved the consent decree. Under its terms, PMT will pay $1,020,000 to a class of job applicants who were rejected for sales positions because they were women or over the age of 40, and to a former human resources employee who notified EEOC that she believed PMT was engaging in discriminatory practices. In addition to the monetary damages, PMT will be monitored by EEOC for the next four years and will be required to revise its hiring practices for sales representatives to ensure that applicants are considered for employment based on merit, not their age or gender, in the future. PMT will also be required to submit regular reports to EEOC, conduct extensive training for all employees involved in the hiring process, and retain an external human resources consultant to review and recommend changes to their workplace policies.
"We are extremely pleased to reach the result announced today," said John Hendrickson, EEOC's regional attorney in Chicago. "This litigation has produced important legal decisions, ensuring the protection of women and older workers from discriminatory hiring practices and represents yet another significant example of EEOC's focus on systemic discrimination. The public has benefited because EEOC and PMT were able to sit down and talk with each other and craft a workable resolution in a complex lawsuit. That doesn't always happen. Not all employers are resolved to deal with tough issues and to get on with business."
Julianne Bowman, director of EEOC's Chicago District Office, said, "This resolution is an excellent result for all involved with PMT, including former applicants who will receive compensation, and current sales applicants who we expect will see an improved hiring process that will not disqualify qualified applicants based on their age or gender. We are pleased that PMT has committed to working with EEOC to comply with federal laws going forward, and we are confident that by doing so PMT will be rewarded by qualified and dedicated employees."
According to company information, PMT (www.pmtcorp.com) manufactures and sells medical devices and equipment across the country and internationally. PMT relies on sales representatives to create and facilitate a customer network for its products. PMT's sales representatives are located in regions across the United States.
Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring, especially class-based recruitment and hiring practices that discriminate against racial, ethnic and religious groups, older workers, women, and people with disabilities, is one of six national priorities identified by EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).
The Chicago District office is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis. EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.