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EEOC Sues Sherwood Food Distributors For Sex Discrimination

Food Distribution Company Excluded Women From Jobs, Federal Agency Charges

CLEVELAND - Sherwood Food Distributors, LLC, violated federal law when it intentionally refused to hire a class of female applicants for entry-level positions in Sherwood's warehouses located in Cleveland and Detroit because of their sex, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed on Sept. 27.

According to EEOC's suit, Sherwood intentionally rejected Janetta Ingram, Natasha Parrish, Crystal Wallace and other women for employment in entry-level warehouse positions because of their sex since at least Jan. 1, 2009. As a result of these practices, the company violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, according to the lawsuit. EEOC also charged that Sherwood failed to make and preserve records that are relevant to determining whether unlawful employment practices have been or are being committed, as required by Title VII.

EEOC filed its lawsuit (EEOC v. Sherwood Food Distributors, LLC, Civil Action No. 1:16-cv-02386) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, in Cleveland after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency seeks monetary relief, including back pay and compensatory and punitive damages, for the entire class of discrimination victims. The suit also seeks injunctive relief to prevent future sex discrimination, including ordering Sherwood to institute policies, practices and procedures that conform to the requirements of federal law. EEOC also seeks an order directing Sherwood to make and preserve records relevant to the determination of whether unlawful employment practices have been or are being committed, as required by Title VII.

"Title VII clearly and plainly makes sex discrimination illegal," said Debra Lawrence, regional attorney for EEOC's Philadelphia District Office. "It is crucial to wipe out discriminatory barriers that women face in the workplace and, particularly, in the hiring process. Federal law prohibits the exclusion of women from employment opportunities because of sex."

Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiri

ng is one of six national priorities identified by EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).

The Philadelphia District Office of EEOC oversees Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. The legal staff of the Philadelphia District Office of EEOC also prosecutes discrimination cases arising from Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.

EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination.