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Beauty product wholesaler settles case alleging anti-male hiring bias


A Puerto Rico-based beauty product wholesaler has agreed to pay more than $350,000 to settle charges by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that it discriminated against men.

The EEOC alleged that San Juan-based Ventura Corp. Ltd., a wholesaler of makeup, beauty products, jewelry and other personal care items to retailers, refused to hire men as zone managers and support managers.

The EEOC also alleged that Ventura promoted Erick Zayas to zone manager after he complained about its discriminatory practices, only to set him up for failure and termination in retaliation for his opposition to Ventura's gender-based hiring practices.

Under terms of the settlement announced Thursday, the $354,250 Ventura will pay includes $150,000 that will go to Mr. Zayas. The rest will be paid to a class of qualified male job applicants who sought zone or support manager jobs from 2004 to the present but were not considered for hiring by Ventura.

The agreement also requires the company to implement a detailed applicant tracking system, among other provisions.

The EEOC also said Ventura was responsible for the loss or destruction of a “great deal” of critical evidence supporting the case, including job applications from qualified male applicants and emails from key decision-makers.

“This case is another reminder that federal law protects both men and women from gender discrimination,” Robert E. Weisberg, regional attorney for the EEOC's Miami district office, said in a statement. “We are pleased that we have been able to secure relief not only for Mr. Zayas, but also for the many qualified applicants who were not considered by Ventura for employment simply because they were male.”

Ventura's attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.