Gerresheimer Wilden Plastics (USA) L.P., a glass and plastics manufacturer based in Peachtree City, Ga., violated federal law when it paid an African-American employee less than non-blacks for performing equal work and then fired her in retaliation for complaining about the discrimination, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced on September 27.
According to the EEOC’s suit, the employer terminated Donna McLeod from her position as a quality assurance manager in January 2009 in retaliation for filing a charge of discrimination with the EEOC. McLeod, who was hired in February 2008, complained internally about race-based wage discrimination in October 2008. After the employer concluded there was no discrimination in wages, McLeod took her grievance to the EEOC. Within six weeks of receiving notice of the charge of discrimination, the employer terminated McLeod.
The agency alleges that Gerresheimer Wilden terminated McLeod because she filed a charge with the EEOC, and that such conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The agency filed suit (Civil Action No. 1:10-03082) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement. The EEOC is seeking back pay and compensatory and punitive damages for McLeod. The lawsuit also seeks injunctive relief designed to stop race discrimination and prevent it from recurring in the future.
Gerresheimer Wilden Plastics (USA) L.P. develops and produces high-quality specialty products made of glass and plastic, primarily for the pharma and life science industry. The company is represented in Europe, the Americas and Asia by 40 production plants employing approximately 9,400 people. As of 2009, Gerresheimer Wilden employed approximately 2,825 employees in the Americas, with 13 facilities in the United States, including the facility in Peachtree City. The parent company is based in Düsseldorf, Germany.