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EEOC Sues Nestlé Waters North America for Sex Discrimination

Female Employee Denied Promotion and Terminated Because of Her Gender, Federal Agency Charged

TAMPA, Fla. - Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA), a Stamford, Conn.-based division of Nestlé Waters, the world's largest bottled water company, violated federal anti-discrimination law when it refused to promote a highly qualified female employee and then laid her off because of her gender, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed Sept. 21, 2015.

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Nestlé Waters North America denied promotion and subsequently laid off Dawn Bowers-Ferrara, a 20-year veteran financial manager, in favor of a male who was less qualified. Bowes-Ferrara was a zone business manager at the company's Tampa, Fla., location. As a result of a consolidation of sales zones in Florida, she was the only zone manager who was terminated, while 11 other zone managers, all male, were retained by NWNA.

Gender discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit against NWNA in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division (EEOC v. Nestle Waters North America, Case No. 8:15-cv-2197-T-26TGW, M.D. Fla.) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement though its conciliation process. The suit seeks back pay, front pay and/or reinstatement, compensatory damages, punitive damages and injunctive relief.

"The law of this nation does not allow for a woman who does her job well and gives almost two decades of her life to her employer to be held back by gender bias," said Robert Weisberg, regional attorney for EEOC's Miami District Office.

EEOC Tampa Field Office Director Georgia Marchbanks added, "EEOC has had the responsibility for investigating charges of gender discrimination in the workplace for 50 years. The need for constant vigilance in this area is as much a part of our mission today as it was in 1965."

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. The Miami District Office's jurisdiction includes Florida, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. Further information can be found at