Pennsylvania Manufacturing Plant Battles Gender Discrimination Suit

June 23,2006 ( -The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit against Schott Glass in Duryea, Pennsylvania, on behalf of six women and others who seek lost wages and punitive damages for gender discrimination in 2004.

The EEOC alleges Schott Glass, an optical glass manufacturing plant, manipulated assignment rules to prevent women from doing “men’s work” prior to a round of layoffs, according to Scranton, Pennsylvania’s Times Tribune.

The suit claims operations with molten glass, “hot-end jobs,” were mostly performed by men at the plant, while jobs relating to inspection and packaging, “cold-end jobs,” were regularly performed by women prior to fall 2004. The suit claims cold-end workers ranked lower than hot-end workers. It also claims male employees were given undeserved credit for being able to perform cold-end duties, which they had never performed and some male applicants with no experience in hot-end or cold-end functions were rewarded with melting line operator jobs over female applicants, according to the Times Tribune.

The suit claims only two of the 25 women ranked by the company were given jobs after training male melting line operators on cold-end jobs and one was laid off, the Times Tribune said.

Wendell Young IV, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Union, told the newspaper that the union fought with the manufacturing company for months to limit layoffs and ensure the company followed the collective bargaining agreement.

“This was something that was extensively examined at the time,” Young told the Times Tribune. “In this case, we firmly believe the layoffs were done in accordance with seniority and experience,” he said in dispute of the EEOC’s allegations while adding that gender was not an issue. “Our main concern was that we followed the labor contract.”