EEOC sues American Freight Management Company, LLC, d/b/a American Freight Furniture and Mattress, alleging it violated federal anti-discrimination laws by engaging in systemic discrimination against female applicants, according to a lawsuit filed by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The lawsuit charges that American Freight refused to hire or even consider a class of female applicants for employment because of their sex.

American Freight, headquartered in Delaware, Ohio operates a chain of warehouse-style discount furniture stores specializing in furniture obtained through factory closeouts, dealer cancellations, retail chain buyouts and wholesale liquidators. The company has over 150 stores in the US.

According to the EEOC lawsuit, American Freight and Furniture and Mattress engaged in a pattern or practice intentionally excluding female applicants from sales and warehouse jobs. Corporate managers instructed store managers not to hire women because women “complain and make trouble” or were overheard saying that women “b****h to much,” are too much of “a distraction” to the male employees; cannot work in the warehouse because “women can’t lift,” and do not “do as great a job as selling furniture as men.”

The agency is seeking monetary relief, including back pay and compensatory and punitive damages, for the class of females denied employment opportunities. The suit also seeks injunctive relief to prevent future sex-based discrimination, including an order that American Freight be required to institute policies, practices and procedures that conform to the requirements of federal law.

What does this mean for me and you? Are you training your management, leadership, supervisory team and staff on regulatory issues? Are you doing Engagement Surveys on a timely basis to determine areas of concern? Have you revised and trained your staff on policies related to this issue? If not, it is not if you will have a problem in the future but when will you have a problem in the future. Please take the time to review your policies and training in this area. If you need any help, give us a call.

Buddy McGehee
Source – U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Web Page