Alabama lawsuit settlement requires company to pay women $5M over gender discrimination

Published 2:09 pm Thursday, February 3, 2022

An Ohio-based retailer that was sued in Alabama for sexual discrimination will pay $5 million and provide job opportunities to women to settle the lawsuit, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said.

The federal agency announced the agreement in a statement Wednesday about American Freight Management Co. The company’s website shows it has more than 300 closeout stores nationwide in 40 states operating as American Freight Furniture and Mattress.

The commission claimed in a lawsuit filed in 2019 that American Freight had a nationwide pattern of discriminating against women to work in its warehouse-style stores. Managers refused to hire women claiming they “can’t lift” or would be a “distraction” to men, a statement said, or that females don’t sell furniture as well as males.

The money will go to compensate women who were wrongly denied work between 2013 and last year, court documents show.

The company, based in Delaware, Ohio, also was barred from discriminating against any job applicant and from retaliating, the agency said. It must recruit women and offer sales and warehouse jobs to qualified applicants who previously were denied positions.

The company did not immediately return an email message seeking comment Thursday.