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Uniform supplier denies sex bias in $1.5 million EEOC settlement


Uniform manufacturer and supplier Cintas Corp. will pay $1.5 million to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in connection with its hiring of female sales representatives, the agency said Monday.

The Cincinnati-based firm said in a statement it denies the EEOC's allegations and believes its charges lack merit.

The EECO said in a statement that evidence revealed that although females applied, they were not hired at Cintas “at a statistically significant level” throughout Michigan from 1999 until March 31, 2005, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The EEOC said under terms of the settlement, Cintas will pay a class of women who applied, but were not hired, $1.5 million in back pay, as well as an additional $50,000 to a third-party claims administrator to distribute money to the class.

The EEOC said Cintas also agreed to hire an outside expert to revalidate the criteria used to screen, interview and select sales representatives, and the interview guides used in hiring them in Michigan, among other settlement terms.

EEOC General Counsel David Lopez said in the statement, “We are confident that the injunctive relief obtained provides a strong foundation for eliminating barriers in recruiting and hiring women and will prevent the recurrence of this type of situation.”

The company said in a statement that although it denies the lawsuit's allegations and believes they lack merit, “Cintas has agreed to the settlement in order to eliminate the uncertainties, time and expense of further litigation.

“This litigation has been going on for over 15 years and the company believes this settlement is in the best interest of its customers, employees and shareholders. Cintas remains committed to maintaining a diverse and inclusive workplace where every employee has the opportunity to fully contribute to the company's success,” said the statement.

Earlier this year, an Oklahoma oil drilling company reached a $400,000 settlement with the EEOC in a case in which it was charged with systemic sex discrimination.