The lawsuit, which was filed on September 21, claims the Connecticut-based Nestlé Waters violated federal anti-discrimination law when it “refused” to promote a highly qualified female employee, then laid her off from the company. The EEOC asserts that this all happened due to the gender of Dawn Bowers-Ferrera, the employee in question.
The case, EEOC v. Nestle Waters North America, was filed in US District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division.
What the lawsuit says
Bowers-Ferrera was a two-decade veteran of Nestlé Waters. EEOC said she was denied the promotion in favor of a less qualified male employee of the company.
In addition, Bowers-Ferrera was the only sales zone manager of the company laid off during a consolidation of zone sales in the state of Florida. EEOC’s lawsuit said the other 11 zone managers, all men, were retained by the company.
EEOC said it had tried to settle the case in pre-litigation, but was unsuccessful. It is seeking “back pay, front pay and/or reinstatement, compensatory damages, punitive damages and injunctive relief” for Bowers-Ferrera.
"The law of this nation does not allow for a woman who does her job well and gives almost two decades of her life to her employer to be held back by gender bias," Robert Weisberg, regional attorney for EEOC's Miami District Office, said in a statement.
A troublesome summer for Nestlé
This isn’t the first legal problem Nestlé Waters has had this year.
In August, Andrea Annette Jackson, a former employee, filed a lawsuit against the company, claiming she was fired after telling her boss she was pregnant.
In addition, Jackson said the company did not comply with legal weightlifting restrictions. She was told she could possibly reapply for her job after she had given birth to the child.
“Nestle’s discrimination was done with malice and/or with reckless disregard for plaintiff’s federally protected rights … an award of exemplary damages is therefore warranted,” the lawsuit states.
The company did not return BeverageDaily’s calls and emails for comment on either case.