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Feds sue Brunswick for gender bias in Minnesota

The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs is suing Brunswick Corp. and its subsidiary Lund Boat Co. for alleged discrimination against more than 200 women who applied for entry-level positions at Lund's boat manufacturing plant in New York Mills, Minn.

“Representatives from Lund have argued that women were less likely to be hired than men because of a preference for workers with manufacturing experience,” solicitor of labor M. Patricia Smith said in a statement. “However, OFCCP's investigation found that even women with this type of experience were less likely to be hired than men without it.”

A spokesman for Brunswick said the company had no comment on pending litigation.

Federal contractors are required to ensure that qualified job applicants receive equal consideration for employment without regard to their sex. The Labor Department office's complaint requests that Lund and Brunswick provide financial remedies — including lost wages, interest and benefits — to the women affected by the discriminatory practices.

Furthermore, the agency asks that job offers be extended to at least 27 women in the original group of applicants. Lastly, the suit asks that the companies be prohibited from extending or modifying current government contracts and from entering into future contracts until they have remedied these violations.

In the last two years alone, Brunswick held federal contracts totaling almost $23 million with agencies that included the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security.

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