GFS settles after feds find gender bias in hiring

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WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — West Michigan-based Gordon Food Service has settled with a federal agency after being accused of gender-based hiring discrimination.

The U.S. Department of Labor found GFS discriminated against 926 qualified female candidates looking for entry-level jobs as warehouse workers in four locations: Grand Rapids; Brighton; Kenosha, Wisconsin; and Shepherdsville, Kentucky. Apparently, GFS was unlawfully having the applicants perform a strength test during the hiring process.

As a result, GFS hired only six women during the time it hired about 300 men.

GFS, based in Wyoming, has not admitted liability but will pay a total of $1.85 million in back wages and benefits to the applicants, hire 37 women and stop using the strength test.>>PDF: GFS conciliation agreement

In a Wednesday statement, GFS said it is “committed to treating all job applicants fairly and equally.”

The company went on to say that it has taken steps to update its hiring process, “including centralizing our recruiting function and evaluating the use of physical screening tests to ensure a fair and objective process that eliminates the presumption of bias.”>>PDF: Full statement from GFS

This is the second time GFS has been hit with a lawsuit like this. In 2007, GFS settled charges of sex discrimination in hiring for similar entry-level labor jobs at its Grand Rapids and Brighton warehouses. In that case, the company paid $450,000 in back pay and interest to the affected women.

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