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Female Employees Sue Costco for Gender Bias

A federal civil rights lawsuit was filed against Costco Wholesale Corporation for bias against female employees on Tuesday. The suit is seeking class-action status to represent as many as 650 women, the San Francisco Gate reports. The lead plaintiff in the case, Shirley “Rae” Ellis of Colorado, claims that women are rarely promoted to high-level management jobs, and that openings for these positions are not posted. According to the Associated Press, while 50 percent of Costco’s employees are female, only 12 percent of their store managers are women. Brad Seligman, executive director of the non-profit Impact Fund, is the lead attorney in the case. He is also involved with the class-action suit against Wal-Mart, which represents approximately 1.6 million current and former female employees of the retail chain, reports the Associated Press. The Washington Post reports a shift away from cases dealing with hiring-discrimination, with more cases arising that concern on-the-job problems, including promotion, pay, and harassment. Eric Dreiband, general counsel for the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, told the Post, “As the blatant discrimination decreased, we’ve seen other areas, like harassment, increase.” In recent months, other companies have dealt with allegations of gender bias. Morgan Stanley paid $54 million to settle claims of discrimination against women in promotion and pay, and Boeing Co. agreed to pay up to $72.5 million to settle a similar suit, the Post reports. JOIN the Feminist Majority

Sources:

Associated Press 8/18/04; Washington Post 8/18/04; San Francisco Gate 8/18/04

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