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Gender complaint settled -- with interest

A Minnesota boat-making business and its parent company agreed to a settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor of nearly $300,000 over allegations of discriminating against hiring women. Back wages and interest to 185 female job applicants who were rejected for entry-level positions will be paid out.

The complaint was filed in November 2011, alleging that the factory discriminated against female applicants for general labor positions from 2006 and 2007. The company holds federal contracts worth nearly $250 million, including the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard, and so must give workers equal shots at employment, not using gender as a factor. The company cooperated with the Department of Labor to reach the settlement.

According to the complaint, the company was attributing the low hiring rate of female applicants to a preference for more manufacturing experience in their applicants, though the complaint alleges that men without related experience were selected at a higher rate than women with appropriate experience. As a result, the company must hire 27 women involved in the complaint as positions open.

This case is interesting not only because of the government contracts involved, but also that the settlement included a clause for hiring of the women who had been discriminated against. Often, people who seek complaints for hiring practices are viewed as seeking only money. However, in this case, the women will not only receive compensation in the form of back pay but also their rightful employment with the company, which will benefit the company and the workers involved.

Source: Star Tribune, "Lund Boat settles gender complaint," Janet Moore, Sep. 4, 2012

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