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Costco Faces Class-Action Lawsuit

A San Francisco judge Tuesday certified two classes of employees suing the Issaquah-based company for gender bias in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (San Francisco). .

A long lawsuit against Issaquah-based Costco Corp. will move forward as a class-action suit against the company, claiming discriminatory promotion practices and potentially including 700 female employees of the company.

On Tuesday, Sept. 25, U.S. District Judge Edward Chen certified two groups of employees, in the suit that charges that Costco has passed women over for promotions through a system that doesn't post all positions for people eligible for promotion.

The Seattle Times reports that Costco had hoped the case would be thrown out after a win by Wal-Mart in a case that was rejected in 2011.

The current case, Ellis v. Costco, 07-15838, originally filed in 2004, Shirley "Rae" Ellis, with support from The Impact Fund--which provides litigation support for civil rights, environmental justice, and poverty law cases--claims that Costco has an unfair unwritten "glass ceiling" system, in which qualifed female employees are routinely passed over for the company's top-paying positions.

Read the Seattle Times story here.

Jeanne Gustafson September 26, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Here's a comment from one of our Facebook users, Eileen D'Eon Fenick: "Having been a 13 year, female, management employee at Costco I feel strongly that people (regardless or race or gender) should be promoted on merit and not based on any other criteria. As a woman I would not want to be promoted because there weren’t enough woman managers but rather on my skills. Costco goes to great lengths to mentor, train, and diversify that in my opinion is above and beyond. The problem with providing written criteria of what it takes to be selected for the job (as the Seattle Times Article quotes someone as saying) is that people then use that as a checklist and assume when they have met the criteria then they should be promoted. The only thing I think they could do differently is post all positions."
sterling October 02, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Being a woman myself and a loyal customer of Costco for years all one has to do is look around in the brick and mortor bldgs and see men as supervisors. You said it yourself, when jobs are not posted, there goes any visability to track over time to get facts and data. Seriously look around and one can see more male supervisors than female.

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