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Press Release 07-27-2011

Bank Of The West To Pay $48,000 To Settle EEOC Sex Bias Hiring Lawsuit

Banking Giant Failed to Hire Oklahoma City Woman Because of Gender, Federal Agency Charged

OKLAHOMA CITY – Bank of the West, one of the nation's largest  banks, will pay $48,000 and furnish other relief to settle a  sex discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity  Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

The lawsuit was filed on July 22,  2011, and settled only five days later.  In addition to the $48,000 payment, Bank of the West has agreed to take specified  actions designed to prevent future discrimination, including the posting of  notices to employees, re-dissemination of anti-discrimination policies and  providing anti-discrimination training to employees.

In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that  Bank of the West refused to hire an Oklahoma    City woman for the position of branch manager of its  Quail Creek branch because of her gender.  Although the managers with hiring authority acknowledged that she was  the best-qualified candidate for the job, they claimed they denied her the job  because she stated she needed two weeks before starting to make child care  arrangements. They then hired a male  applicant despite his having informed them that he also needed two weeks before  starting to make child care arrangements.  Bank of the West denies that it discriminated against the female  applicant.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act  of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. The EEOC filed suit (Case No. 11-cv-0834-D) in  U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma after first attempting  to reach a voluntary settlement out of court through its conciliation process.

"An ounce of prevention is worth a  pound of cure," said Patrick Holman, trial attorney for the EEOC. "We  believe that when Bank of the West fully understood what happened, it took  action to correct its unequal treatment, as this quick settlement  demonstrates. We are hopeful that with  education and closer scrutiny of lower management, discriminatory actions can  be prevented, saving its employees and applicants from unlawful treatment and  itself significant costs."

"Over 45 years after  the passage of Title VII, discrimination against women in the workplace continues  to be a problem," said EEOC Regional Attorney Barbara Seely. "Corporate America must be  more vigilant in guarding against job bias affecting female workers or risk  action and exposure by the EEOC."

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further  information about the Commission is available on its web site at