EEOC charges Berkshire Hathaway unit with sexual bias

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is charging a metallurgical manufacturer and supplier that is a Berkshire Hathaway Group Inc. unit with discriminating against female employees.

The EEOC said in a statement Tuesday that since at least 2017, Attleboro, Massachusetts-based LeachGarner Inc. routinely assigned female manufacturing employees to lower-paying jobs.

It said the manufacturing positions held nearly exclusively by males paid significantly more than those held by females, even though the male-dominated positions required no prior experience and the job-holders performed similar work.

The EEOC said also that LeachGarner routinely expressed a preference for male workers in communications with staffing agencies, using direct or “coded” language. 

It said, for example, a LeachGarner human resources manager wrote that “a man would be better” for one vacancy and that it would prefer to “try a man” for another, and that an applicant “needs to be strong.”

Job vacancies in female-dominated positions were described as requiring employees with “good finger dexterity,” even though employees of either sex could perform the jobs, the agency said. It said the few women permitted to work alongside men were paid less regardless of their tenure.

The EEOC is charging the company with violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act. 

The lawsuit, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. LeachGarner, a Berkshire Hathaway Co. unit, was filed in U.S. District Court in Boston.

The company did not respond to a request for comment.




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