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A Seattle tire dealer will pay $2 million for hiring practices that seemed to presume that women can’t change a car tire. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced on Thursday that Les Schwab Tire Centers has agreed to pay $2 million to resolve claims that it failed to hire qualified women for tire-changing jobs at its stores in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada and Utah. The settlement resolves a four-year-old gender discrimination class action, which was filed in the Western District of Washington. Michael Baldonado, San Francisco district director for the EEOC, who oversaw the litigation, said the settlement should serve as a warning to employers everywhere. “The EEOC will continue to investigate employers and industries that have put women in certain types of jobs, and men in others,” Baldonado said in a statement. “We hope Les Schwab becomes a model employer of women in the male-dominated tire industry.” In addition to the monetary settlement, Les Schwab has agreed to maintain its anti-discrimination policies and procedures and to provide anti-discrimination training for all its managers, assistant managers and employees. The company also will provide periodic reports to the EEOC on its compliance with the terms of the consent decree. Jeffrey Hollingsworth, a Seattle partner at Perkins Coie who represented Les Schwab, was unavailable for comment. In a statement, a Les Schwab official said the company worked “diligently” to resolve the claims and denied any wrongdoing, adding, “We are committed to equal opportunity practices in all aspects of our business.” Tresa Baldas can be contacted at [email protected].

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