A Bluffton waste disposal company has paid $32,500 to settle claims that it violated federal law by failing to interview or hire a qualified employee because of her gender.

Christina Rivers filed the claim against American Pride Waste Solutions Inc. in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina with help from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Rivers claimed she was fully qualified to work as a waste disposal truck driver for the company, as she holds a commercial driver’s license and has experience driving large trucks, but that she wasn’t seriously considered for the position. When she applied for a job with the company in April 2016, she was never offered an interview.

Rivers alleged that American Pride has never hired a female driver and that the company offered inconsistent explanations for their unwillingness to interview her, even after admitting that she was qualified. In addition, she claimed that the company hired several male applicants around the same time that she was denied an interview.

American Pride also agreed to update and disseminate anti-discrimination policies that prohibit discrimination, provide annual equal employment opportunity training to its managers and employees, and post a notice to its employees about the lawsuit. It also agreed to provide periodic reporting to the EEOC about complaints of discrimination, harassment and retaliation.

EEOC attorneys said in a press release that the lawsuit was filed after pre-litigation settlement discussion failed.

“The EEOC is pleased that the company has agreed to settle this matter and implement policies and procedures that are conducive to a work environment free of sex discrimination,” said Antonette Sewell, regional attorney for the EEOC.

The settlement was finalized, and the case dismissed, on March 18.

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