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MN company settles $1M lawsuit after it didn't hire women, people over 40

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A Chanhassen company will pay out more than $1 million to job applicants it rejected for being female or over 40, after a lawsuit settlement was reached.

Medical device manufacturer PMT Corp. will pay $1.02 million to end the age and sex discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which announced the settlement on Monday.

The EEOC says the company violated federal civil rights laws for having a hiring policy – which was "intentional and directed by PMT's owner" – that refused "otherwise qualified applicants" for outside sales positions if they were female or over the age of 40.

The policy was said to have been in place when 70 individuals were hired as sales reps between Jan. 1 2007, and late 2010, and the EEOC told MPR News that 34-40 of those hired should have been women or workers over the age of 40.

The case came to light because of a whistleblower, the news organization says, though the company still denies it despite settling the case.

"This was a pretty straightforward case. We had explicit statements not to hire anyone over the age of 40 and women for these positions," EEOC attorney Nick Pladson told MPR News. "Fortunately, we don't see that a lot anymore."

As part of the settlement, PMT will be monitored for the next four years by the EEOC and has been ordered to revise its hiring practices so sales representatives are hired based on merit rather than age or gender.

Julianne Bowman, director of EEOC's Chicago District Office, said: "This resolution is an excellent result for all involved with PMT, including former applicants who will receive compensation, and current sales applicants who we expect will see an improved hiring process that will not disqualify qualified applicants based on their age or gender."

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