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Military meals contractor sued for bias against hiring men


In a reverse discrimination case, the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs is suing a portable meals manufacturer for discriminating against men.

The OFCCP said in statement Wednesday that Evansville, Indiana-based AmeriQual Group L.L.C., which manufactures portable meals for the U.S. Department of Defense and other government agencies, systematically discriminated against qualified men.

The agency said the company based work assignments on gender stereotypes, putting women in light duty jobs, and having men do more labor-intensive work.

It said women were selected for “table inspector” jobs, where a majority of the hiring occurred, while men were relegated generally to leader and utility positions, where less hiring took place.

The OFCCP said the company’s discriminatory policy affected 237 male applicants. It said although there was a significantly larger male applicant pool, the company disproportionately selected women over men.

The OFCCP said its investigation also found the company tried to create after-the-fact justifications for failing to hire male applicants by making notations on sticky notes and other documents and then adding them to files. Those notations did not appear on the original documents the company had provided at the beginning of the investigation, the OFCCP said.

“Qualifications for a job are tied to skills and experience, not gender. Stereotypical notions of what jobs are appropriate for women are outdated, and perpetuate discrimination,” said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu, in the statement.

“We expect that employers funded by taxpayer dollars to provide meals to our Armed Forces will exemplify the same spirit of equal employment opportunity and diversity that exists in our military,” she said.

A company spokesman could not be reached for comment.