$1.85M Fine for Gender Discrimination

Gordon Food Services, a Michigan-based company, was recently fined by the Department of Labor for systemic gender discrimination resulting from their hiring practices.  Gordon's would often disqualify women from warehouse jobs due to their failure to satisfy strength tests administered by the company.  

The department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs indicated that it "found that the company systematically eliminated qualified women from the hiring process through various discriminatory means, including the unlawful use of the strength test." Six women were hired, compared to nearly 300 men.

The federal government deemed the test illegal because it was non-essential to the functions of the respective job.  

As a result, Gordon's agreed to pay $1,850,000 in back pay, interest, and benefits to the 926 women affected by the discrimination.  Additionally, the government ordered Gordon's to hire 37 of the women affected.  As with most cases of gender discrimination an adequate assessment of current hiring practices would have raised a "red flag" preventing a sizeable fine and negative publicity. 

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Employment Law(s): Part Duo

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

This act provides for up to twelve (12) weeks of unpaid leave each twelve (12) months for the birth or adoption of a child, to care for an immediate family member experiencing a serious health condition, and/or for recuperation of the employee from a serious health condition (employees must have worked at their company for more than 12 months and at least 1,250 hours the previous year.) It also allows for up to 26 weeks leave for military family and care givers.

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