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PRESS RELEASE
10-2-14

EEOC Sues EZPAWN Alabama for Sex Discrimination in Promotions

Pawn Shop Denied Promotions to Female Employee Because of Caregiver Responsibilities, Federal Agency Charges

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - EZPAWN Alabama, Inc. dba EZPAWN, a pawn shop chain, violated federal law when it failed to promote a female employee with caregiving responsibilities because of her gender, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today. 

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, EZPAWN committed discrimination based on sex when it denied Latori Payne promotion to the positions of assistant store manager and store manager.  The agency said that despite possessing experience and qualifications equal to or greater than the males who were selected, Payne was not considered or selected.  The EEOC said the company assumed Payne could not perform management tasks because of her child care responsibilities.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on sex.  After first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process, the EEOC filed this lawsuit (Civil Action Number 2:14-cv-01011-WKW-WC) in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama.  The agency seeks back pay, compensatory damages, punitive damages and injunctive relief.

"Employers are wrong to assume that women with child caring responsibilities are less likely to be able to perform their jobs," said EEOC Birmingham District Director Delner Franklin-Thomas.  Using these assumptions as a basis for denying women an equal employment opportunity is illegal."  

EEOC Birmingham Regional Attorney Emanuel Smith added, "The EEOC will not hesitate to protect the rights of women to full employment opportunities, including filing lawsuits against employers who compromise these rights based on presumptions rooted in child care responsibilities. 

EZPAWN, a Delaware corporation headquartered in Montgomery, Ala., operates a number of pawn shops throughout Alabama.  These businesses accept merchandise in pawn for cash and sell merchandise directly to the public.  

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.  The EEOC's Birmingham District covers Alabama, Mississippi (except 17 northern counties) and the Florida Panhandle.  Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.