The Democratic Party plans to highlight the alleged Republican “war on women” at its convention in Charlotte next month, an effort that could be undermined by the selection of former Costco CEO and cofounder Jim Sinegal to address the convention.
During his tenure at the retail supply firm, Sinegal faced allegations of widespread gender discrimination at the company, which was the target of a 2006 class-action lawsuit.
The plaintiffs in the case alleged that Costco frequently promoted less-qualified male employees to the detriment of female employees, and failed to give sufficient notice of advancement opportunities.
Court filings charge that Costco practices allowed for “favoritism and individual biases” in the awarding of promotions. The company disregarded complaints of such discrimination, and Sinegal personally opposed recommendations to provide advanced notice of senior management opportunities, the suit alleged.
“I have always felt very, very strongly and very adamantly, that those were not the types of jobs that should be up for posting,” he said in a 2006 testimony.
Costco’s lead attorney said Seligman personally signed off on all promotions to management positions.
The lawsuit noted that although women made up about half of Costco’s 78,000 employees, less than 20 percent of senior managers were female, well below the established benchmark of 34.1 percent for other retail companies.