Former Hilti Employee Alleges Gender Discrimination

A former female employee of Hilti of America Inc. filed a class action gender discrimination lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma.
The employee, Ronica Tabor, claims that Hilti’s hiring and promotion practices create a glass ceiling throughout the U.S. by preventing women from advancing beyond entry-level sales positions.
According to the complaint, while women fill a substantial percentage of the entry-level sales positions, more than 90 percent of the employees in the second-level sales jobs are men. Very few, if any, women rise above the second-level, with the result that all (or virtually all) decision-makers are males.
Tabor interviewed for a second-level sales position after exemplary performance in an entry-level position. She alleges that during the interview, the decision-maker commented that women had to work harder than men to learn how to use and sell tools because tools are like guns, which come natural to men, and inappropriately told her to discuss the position with her husband because she had a young child. After Tabor complained to Hilti’s human resources department, her application was denied and a man was hired into the position she sought.
Hilti manufactures and sells high-end construction tools. Its U.S. operations are headquartered in Tulsa.
“It is shocking that a company as sophisticated as Hilti would make blatantly stereotypical and discriminatory comments to our client, and that its HR department would essentially blame her when she complained,” said Daniel Smolen of Smolen & Smolen, one of the attorneys for the plaintiff. “It is shameful that such a small percentage of women are permitted to advance beyond entry-level positions.”



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