Frizzell Furniture, a furniture retailer with locations in northern Minnesota, has agreed to pay $60,000 and has committed to providing training and revising its policies to resolve a finding of gender identity discrimination, a form of sex discrimination, by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency announced Oct. 26.
An investigation by the EEOC’s Minneapolis Area Office concluded that Frizzell Furniture did not hire a job applicant for a sales position because he is transgender. A hiring official informed him he would not “mix well with the customers.” Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination, including bias based on transgender status. Title VII does not permit discriminatory employment decisions based on customer preference.
“We appreciate that Frizzell Furniture worked cooperatively with the EEOC to resolve this charge without having to go through protracted litigation,” said Julianne Bowman, district director of the EEOC’s Chicago District. “By revising its hiring procedures and adopting new policies, Frizzell Furniture is taking important steps to promote equal employment opportunity for all job applicants.”
Under the conciliation agreement, in addition to paying $60,000 to the applicant, Frizzell will implement an anti-discrimination policy and improved recordkeeping procedures, provide EEO training to employees, and report any future complaints of discrimination to the EEOC for a period of three years. The company will also adopt more objective criteria for hiring decisions and utilize a scoring matrix for job interviews.
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