PMT Corp. Settles Hiring Discrimination Lawsuit For Over $1M
PMT Corporation, a Chanhassen-based medical device maker, will pay more than $1 million to settle a federal equal-opportunity lawsuit that alleged discrimination against women and people over 40 during its hiring process.
According to an investigation by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), PMT’s CEO, Alfred Iversen, directed his hiring managers to reject female applicants for sales positions, allegedly going so far as to say “women in sales is a 100 percent fail” and that women are a “failure at travel” and required chaperoning while on the road.
Court filings indicate Iverson also told his hiring managers to screen out any resumes with college graduation dates from more than a decade prior.
Between the start of 2007 and into late 2010, PMT hired 70 sales workers, none of which were qualified female applicants or those over 40 years of age. PMT’s former human resources director filed a complaint, which eventually led the EEOC to open an investigation and file a lawsuit. The lawsuit indicates that by 2012, two years after the discrimination charge was filed, PMT hired three women out of the 50 jobs it created following the suit.
The EEOC also charged PMT for attempting to punish the former HR director Patricia Lebens after she reported the discrimination. PMT management directed one of its staff members to contact the sheriff’s office and accuse Lebens of felony theft for not paying her contribution to PMT’s employee health insurance benefit, the lawsuit said.
Documents provided by Lebens proved she had paid her employee contributions and was in fact still owed $100 in unpaid vacation time.
“The false theft accusation was clearly intended to dissuade anyone else from doing the right thing and cooperating with EEOC,” said John Hendricksen, EEOC’s regional attorney in Chicago, in a statement. “It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out that the EEOC cannot go about its business of combating employment discrimination if we don’t step up to protect and defend those who bring their complaints to us.”
PMT, founded in 1979, makes products used for plastic and reconstructive surgery, neurosurgery, orthopedic medicine and gastrointestinal endoscopy. The company could not be reached for comment.