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PRESS RELEASE
4-29-16

Country Fresh Sued by EEOC for Sex Discrimination

Milk Manufacturer Refused to Promote Woman Because of Gender, Federal Agency Charged

DETROIT - A Grand Rapids, Mich.-based milk and juice manufacturer violated federal law by subjecting a female employee to sex discrimination, the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC's suit, Country Fresh, a division of Dean Foods, unlawfully and repeatedly denied promotions to a female employee to positions such as production supervisor because of her gender. The employee, who worked at the company's Livonia, Mich., plant, worked in various production jobs throughout the plant, had decades of experience, and was repeatedly bypassed for promotions while male employees were selected for the jobs she sought, EEOC said.

Sex discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. EEOC filed its lawsuit (Case No. 2:16-CV-11551) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.  The EEOC is seeking an injunction to prohibit the company from engaging in this type of discrimination in the future, as well as monetary relief on behalf of the employee.

"Failing to promote a qualified female employee because of her sex violates federal law and is completely unacceptable," said EEOC Trial Attorney Nedra Campbell. "EEOC will continue to fight for the victims of sex discrimination to ensure that everyone has a fair chance to advance at work."

Dean Foods, based in Dallas, is a large food and beverage company that specializes in dairy products and has plants both in the United States and abroad.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available at its website at www.eeoc.gov.