Don't hire any females, andÂ screen out rĂ©sumĂ©s of applicants who had graduated from college more than 10 years previously. That's what the feds say the CEO and owner of aÂ suburban MinneapolisÂ medical device and equipment manufacturer told his hiring managers. And the EEOC alleges the companyÂ retaliated against its former human resources director for reporting it.
According to a lawsuit filedÂ in federal court by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, PMT Corp., aÂ manufacturer and worldwide seller of surgical and medical equipment,Â violated federal civil rights laws by refusing to hire women and workers over 40.
PMT President and CEO Alfred Iversen founded the company In 1979.Â Despite hiring at least 70 people between Jan. 1, 2007, and late 2010,Â the EEOC investigation revealedÂ PMT hired no female salespeople.
âWe have identified witnesses who allegedly heard Iversen complain that âwomen in sales is a 100% failure rate,â and that women were a âfailure at travelâ necessary for the sales position,â said John Rowe, EEOC Chicago District Director, whoÂ oversaw the investigation, according to this piece in the Minneapolis StarTribune.
Â "Women in sales is a 100% failure rate," says company CEO according to the EEOC.
The suit goes on to say that after the company'sÂ human resources director brought the hiring practices to the attention ofÂ the EEOCâs attention, company management allegedly sent an employee to the local sheriff to accuse the HR head of felony theft.
The EEOCÂ is asking the court to require the company to changeÂ their hiring practices, and is seeking back pay and damages on behalf of sales applicants who were not hired, as well asÂ back pay, lost benefits and damages for the former human resources official.
John Hendrickson has been the Regional Attorney in the Chicago District of the EEOCÂ since 1990. He says that once the company owner realized they were under investigation, heÂ began a campaign of hostile and threatening behavior.
"The false theft accusation was clearly intended to dissuade anyone else from doing the right thing and cooperating with EEOC," said Hendrickson. "It doesnât take rocket science to figure out that the EEOC cannot go about its business of combating employment discrimination if we donât step up to protect and defend those who bring their complaints to us.â
The company owner says he gives a lot of money to the Republican Party and that the EEOC lawsuit is politically motivated.
Company owner and CEO Iversen has denied the allegations Wednesday, saying the EEOC has been harassing him for three-and-a-half years, and that he intends to fight the suit.
He also told the StarTribuneÂ he suspects the lawsuitÂ may be politically motivated.
âI believe we are being attacked. âŠ It may be the White House. I donate a lot of money to the Republican Party.â
Campaign finance recordsÂ showÂ he gave about $15,000Â to variousÂ Republican causes andÂ candidates last year, although he gave slightly more to Mitt Romney's campaign in 2012.