SAN FRANCISCO -- U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel ruled here last week that the court will allow a gender-discrimination lawsuit to proceed as a class action. The ruling will broaden the base of the August 2004 lawsuit filed by three Costco female employees to encompass as many as 700 women at the company's middle-management level who were allegedly passed over for promotion over a three-year period. In her ruling Patel said the women "presented strong evidence of a common culture at Costco which disadvantages women." The suit claims Costco denies women promotions to the positions of general manager and assistant general manager at its warehouses. At the time the complaint was filed, Costco was operating approximately 320 warehouses in the U.S. employing more than 78,000 workers, of whom nearly 50% were female, though only one in six of the company's senior store managers were female, the suit indicated. Although some women were promoted, the complaint said, “those women ... mostly find themselves relegated to the warehouse locations that generate the lowest revenue.” -- Elliot Zwiebach
Costco Gender-Discrimination Suit a Class-Action
SAN FRANCISCO -- U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel ruled here last week that the court will allow a gender-discrimination lawsuit to proceed as a class action.