Female laborer claims gender discrimination

Steve Gonzalez Aug. 25, 2008, 4:30am

A female employee of Richland Manufacturing filed a discrimination suit against her employer alleging they promoted a less qualified male employee over her.

Debra Bagwell claims she has been employed at the Olney facility since 2003 as a press operator and in January 2007 applied for a new position as a tool and die operator.

According to the complaint filed Aug. 22 in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis, Bagwell was fully qualified for the position but was not hired despite her qualifications.

"Defendant hired instead a male applicant who was not as qualified as she was," the complaint states.

Bagwell claims in refusing to hire her and in hiring a less qualified male applicant, Richland discriminated against her on the basis of gender in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Bagwell also claims she applied for a position as a team leader in the welding department in April 2007, and again a male applicant was chosen instead of her.

She claims that she has been damaged in that both the tool and die position and team leader position pay more than the position she now holds.

Bagwell is seeking an amount to be determined at trial in excess of $50,000, costs of the suit, reasonable attorney fees and expenses pursuant to statute and punitive or exemplary damages in an amount to be determined at trial.

Bagwell is represented by David Stevens of Mattoon.

The case has been assigned to District Judge G. Patrick Murphy and Magistrate Clifford Proud.

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