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Press Release 08-24-2011

Forrest City Grocery Company To Pay $125,000 To Settle EEOC Sex Discrimination Suit

Federal Agency Charged Arkansas Company Denied Sales Jobs to Female Employee

FORREST CITY, Ark. -- Forrest City Grocery  Company, a distributor of tobacco and grocery items to retail and convenience  stores in six states, has agreed to pay $125,000 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 EEOC alleged that Forrest City Grocery,  doing business as Dixie Tobacco & Candy Company in Shaw, Miss.,  now closed, denied sales positions to an employee because she is a woman.

According to  the EEOC's lawsuit, the company told Amanda McMillan the job of a salesman was  too dangerous for a woman, and that she would not be a good mother if she were  on the road meeting customers. The  lawsuit charges that Forrest City Grocery paid McMillan less than men doing the  same work.

Sex discrimination violates Title VII  of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The  EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court in the  Northern District of Mississippi (EEOC v. Forrest City Grocery Company, Civil Action  No.2:10-cv-00166), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation  settlement through its conciliation process.

Besides the  monetary damages, the company also agreed to be monitored by the EEOC, to  disseminate employment policies to employees, and provide ongoing training for  management on sex discrimination.

"Women make valuable  contributions to the work force, yet they are too often denied opportunities at  work based on gender stereotypes and old-fashioned ideas about a woman's proper  place," said Birmingham District Director Delner  Franklin-Thomas. "Employers must  ensure they, and their managers, are in compliance with the law for the benefit  of themselves and their employees."

C. Emanuel Smith, regional attorney for  the EEOC's Birmingham District Office, commented, "The EEOC is committed to ensuring  that employers do not discriminate against women because of their sex. This lawsuit again  demonstrates the EEOC's ongoing commitment to eliminating sex bias in the  workplace. Forrest City's  agreement to train managers on preventing discrimination is a big step in the  right direction."

The EEOC is responsible  for enforcing federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment. The EEOC's Birmingham District includes Alabama, Mississippi  (except 17 northern counties) and the Florida Panhandle. Further information about the EEOC is  available on its website at