Landis Plastics Inc. said it will work with its lawyers and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to reconcile alleged sexual discrimination at its Solvay, N.Y., plant.
Jim Torgerson, Landis vice president of human resources, said in a prepared statement dated Nov. 19 that ``circumstances in this case go back a number of years,'' and that current management administers all policies and programs ``in a fair and equitable manner.''
Torgerson said his firm first learned of EEOC's response to a complaint through a letter from the local press. The company declined comment because the issue involves ongoing litigation.
Syracuse's local newspaper reported Nov. 20 that the EEOC sent a letter to Kathy Saumier and Beverly Martin, who filed discrimination complaints two years ago. Reportedly the EEOC letter alleged that Landis' Solvay operation segregated job applications by sex, tended to give higher-paying promotions to men and that it regularly gave pay raises to men but not to women.
Elizabeth Cadle, director of EEOC's Buffalo, N.Y., office, declined to confirm the letter, citing confidentiality between the agency, the complainants and the firm. She said local media must have obtained the details through a leaked source.
The United Steelworkers of America union, which has been trying to unionize the Solvay operation, did not return calls to comment on how this might affect their drive. Saumier was one of the employees trying to organize the plant under the USW. Landis fired her for alleged sexual harassment but was forced to rehire her earlier this year.
Torgerson said by telephone that Landis' attorneys are trying to arrange a meeting with the EEOC but no date had been set as of last week.
In summer, Landis agreed to pay a $425,000 fine and improve its worker safety and health conditions in a settlement with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.