The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a complaint against Performance Food Group, Inc., alleging that it had a “standard operating procedure of denying employment to female applicants for operative positions in its [warehouse] facilities on the basis of their gender”; EEOC also alleges that the defendant failed to promote a woman at its Maryland facility on the basis of her gender. EEOC v. Performance Food Group, Inc., No. 13-1712 (U.S. Dist. Ct., D. Md., filed June 13, 2013). The defendant apparently distributes food-related products to more than 130,000 independent and national chain restaurants, theaters, schools, hotels, health care facilities, and other institutions across the United States.

According to the complaint, the defendant unlawfully discriminated against hiring women at multiple facilities since at least January 1, 2004, for warehouse positions that required the operation of machinery and factory-related processing equipment or were supervisory occupations. A corporate senior vice president allegedly stated on several occasions that women could not do warehouse work and asked “why would we waste our time bringing in females.” He also allegedly expressed his displeasure when he saw women working at the warehouses, saying it would be a good idea to get the females “out of here.” EEOC claims that court-ordered data on the company’s hiring practices “revealed a statistically significant shortfall of female operatives. These shortfalls of females appeared in the overwhelming majority of individual Broadline facilities for all Regions as well as the pooled results analyzed throughout the relevant time period.” EEOC also claims, “A review and analysis of static workforce data reveals [sic] that employment of female operative workers at Defendant has been and continues to be less than that of Defendant’s competitors in the relevant labor market.”

EEOC seeks permanent injunctive relief; an order requiring the defendant to “institute and carry out policies, practices, and programs which provide equal employment opportunities for females, and which eradicate the effects of their past and present unlawful employment practices”; an order making whole a woman denied a promotion to supervisor and a class of female applicants and deterred applicants; back pay with interest; front pay; “compensation for pecuniary and nonpecuniary losses, including emotional pain, suffering, anxiety, depression, embarrassment, degradation, and humiliation”; and punitive damages.