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Sears Cleared of Bias Against Women on Job : Judge Says Agency Gave No Evidence of Practices

February 04, 1986|Associated Press

CHICAGO — A federal judge ruled Monday that Sears, Roebuck & Co. did not discriminate against women in hiring, promotion or salary practices, ending nearly seven years of litigation over a lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

In a 163-page ruling, U.S. District Judge John Nordberg concluded that the federal commission "presented no evidence that Sears ever enforced any of the (discriminatory) policies."

"It is almost inconceivable," Nordberg wrote, "that in a nationwide suit alleging . . . intentional discrimination for at least eight years involving more than 900 stores, EEOC would be unable to produce even one witness who could credibly testify that Sears discriminated against her."

The EEOC alleged in a 1979 complaint that the Chicago-based retail giant had discriminated against women by excluding them from commission sales positions, that it had excluded them from non-commission sales positions and that it had paid women less than men for comparable management jobs.

Welcomes Ruling

The complaint covered women who worked for Sears from 1973 to 1980.

"This is welcome news," said Edward A. Brennan, chairman and chief executive of Sears, of the decision. He said Nordberg's ruling "makes it clear that the EEOC's accusations against Sears were inaccurate and grossly unfair."

EEOC spokeswoman Debbie Graham said from the agency's headquarters in Washington that staff counsel would review the ruling before deciding any future action.

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