Press Release 12-19-2013

EEOC Sues Food Rite Community Supermarket  For Sex Discrimination

Grocery Store Refused to Hire Qualified Female for Courtesy Van Driver Job Because of Her Sex, Federal Agency Charged

RICHMOND, Va. - Lee's Food Corp., doing business as Food Rite Community Supermarket (Food Rite), violated federal law when it failed to hire a qualified female applicant because of her sex, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

The EEOC alleges that on October 2012, Deborah Newell went to Food Rite and inquired about a part-time courtesy van driver position she saw advertised. The complaint alleges the store manager told Newell he would not hire a female for the courtesy van driver job out of concern that driving the courtesy van would not be safe for a female driver. The qualifications for the courtesy van driver job included having a valid driver's license and a good driving record, which Newell met. Food Rite did not hire her, and approximately five days after Newell inquired about the position, hired a male candidate for the position.

Sex discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Lee's Food Corp. d/b/a Food Rite Community Supermarket, Civil Action No. 3:13-CV-838) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Va., Richmond Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, rightful-place hiring and injunctive relief.

"Denying a person a job opportunity because of his or her sex is unjust and unlawful," said Lynette Barnes, EEOC Charlotte District Office regional attorney. "Individuals should not be deprived of their right to earn a living simply because of their gender."

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency's web site at