the past two years, the United States has seen women make amazing
strides in the effort to break the glass ceiling. The progress has
enabled women to earn places and positions never before thought
possible. From Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign to Katherine
Bigelow’s recent Oscar win for best director, we have come a long way…
Or have we? A quick Internet search for the word “discrimination” turns
up the headlines of hundreds of cases, many of them filed on the
grounds of gender bias. Cases such as the one recently settled in
Oregon involving Les Schwab Tires may be an indicator that workplace
discrimination is still alive and well.

United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced
last week that it had finally resolved its gender-biased hiring class
lawsuit against Les Schwab Tires of Washington for $2.0 million. Les
Schwab is a giant franchise that not only serves Washington State, but
Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, California and Utah. The EEOC’s case
alleged that Les Schwab had failed to hire qualified women to work in
the Sales and Service divisions of their outlets. The Sales and Service
divisions at Les Schwab are primarily in charge of changing customer
tires.  And according to the chain, it is strictly man’s work. Les
Schwab, according to the EEOC, denied the applications of over 200
women throughout the West for Sales and Service positions since 2004.
These women will be eligible for a share of the settlement.

charge that Les Schwab was able to have dropped from the suit was that
it failed to promote women to managerial positions.  While never
admitting guilt, Les Schwab has agreed as part of the settlement to
continue to train employees on anti-discrimination, as well as to
encourage and promote the hiring of qualified women candidates for all
positions that they apply for.

the EEOC is thrilled at the result of the settlement and vows to
monitor Les Schwab’s hiring practices and development. The EEOC also
sees the settlement as a fresh start with Les Schwab in a “new era of
cooperation.  And really, that is what change and progress are all about—recognizing wrongs, fixing them, and moving forward.