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In Randleman, gender and disability bias cost big bucks

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Hiring,Human Resources

Ohio-based Timken Co. will pay $120,000 to settle a gender and disability complaint from a woman who worked at the company’s ball bearing plant in Randleman.

Carmen Halloran had been a part-timer at the factory for four years when she applied for a full-time position. When she didn’t get the job, she filed an EEOC complaint alleging that some of the managers who made the hiring decision believed she would be unreliable because she has a disabled child.

Halloran noted in her complaint that Timken did not label fathers of disabled children as unreliable, something she blamed on the stereotype that women provide most child care in the home.

When EEOC efforts to mediate the case failed, the commission prepared to file a federal lawsuit on Halloran’s behalf. That got Timken’s attention, and the company agreed to a settlement.

Under the terms of the agreement, Timken must provide anti-discrimination training to its managers and post details of the settlement at the Randleman plant. During the next two years, Timken must file reports with the EEOC detailing its hiring practices.

Note: Usually, just one kind of discrimination is enough to land an employer in hot water. In this case, two kinds of bias—against women and those who must care for relatives with disabilities—conspired to put Timken in a position where it really had no choice but to settle.

Advice: Beware any hiring decision in which a candidate’s personal life becomes a disqualifying factor. Always have more than one person look over applications and résumés to ensure that a hiring manager’s personal biases or stereotypes won’t wind up costing the company big bucks.

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