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EEOC Sues H&E Equipment Services for Gender Discrimination, Retaliation

Victim Was Told Women Could Never Be Managers, Laid Off for Complaining, Federal Agency Charged

DENVER – H&E Equipment Services, Inc failed to promote an employee due to sex discrimination and then fired her after she complained, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleged in a lawsuit filed yesterday in federal court (case number 1:11-cv-02546-WYD). 

According to the EEOC’s suit, Kathleen Wooten was denied a promotion to rental manager because of her gender.  Rather than promoting Wooten, the branch manager offered the position to Wooten’s newly hired male subordinate telling him that she would never be a manager because a woman could never be a manager in the construction business.  After Wooten’s subordinate told her he was offered the job, she complained to the regional rental manager that she was being discriminated against based on her gender.  A few months later, Wooten was laid off and replaced by a male employee.

Discrimination based on gender is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits sex discrimination as well as retaliation for complaining about such discrimination.

“Everyone deserves to advance in the workplace as far as her talent and abilities will take her, without facing discriminatory attitudes and glass ceilings because of gender,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill.  

EEOC Denver Field Director Nancy Sienko added, “The EEOC is committed to eliminating all forms of sex discrimination from the workplace.”

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination.  Further information is available at