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PRESS RELEASE
10-1-15

EEOC Sues Coca-Cola Bottling Of Mobile for Sex Discrimination

Company Refused Job to Experienced Applicant Because of Gender, Federal Agency Charges

MOBILE, Ala. -- Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Mobile, a manufacturer, bottler and distri­butor of soft drink products violated federal law by discriminating against a job applicant on the basis of sex, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed on Sept. 30. 

EEOC's suit alleged that Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Mobile, owned and operated by Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated, and CC Beverage Packing, Inc. refused to hire Martina Owes, an applicant for two vacant warehouse positions, because she is female. While Owes had the required warehouse and forklift experience, the company chose to hire less qualified men for the available positions. EEOC also charged that by not preserving all application materials related to those positions, the company violated federal record-keeping laws.

Sex discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects employees against discriminatory practices based on race, color, national origin, sex, and religion. EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, Mobile Division (EEOC v. Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated et al., Case No. 1:15-cv-00486) after first attempting to reach a pre-litiga­tion settlement through its administrative conciliation process. EEOC's suit seeks monetary relief in the form of back pay, front pay, compensatory and punitive damages, hiring into the position wrong­fully denied and an injunction against future discrimination.

"The Commission will continue to pursue companies that maintain arbitrary and unfair barriers to equal opportunity in the workplace based on sex," said Delner Franklin-Thomas, district director of EEOC's Birmingham District Office, which has jurisdiction over Alabama, portions of Mississippi and Florida.

EEOC Birmingham Regional Attorney C. Emanuel Smith, said, "When a company practices sex discrimination such as this - ignoring and shunning an experienced and qualified applicant simply because of her gender - then it's only harming itself, not only by losing a valuable employee, but also by facing the consequences of violating federal law."

EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.