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Bowe v. Colgate-Palmolive

Gender Segregation

The Colgate company had also maintained separate seniority systems for men and women. The seniority ranking affected not only an employee's ability to obtain much sought-after assignments, but also layoffs. Women were let go before men with less seniority and called back to work the same way. This segregation continued even after the company had made minor changes and relabeled the practices to appear more gender-neutral.

Bowe was one victim of this discrimination. She, along with other female coworkers, filed charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). However, they could not obtain an agreement from Colgate. Therefore, the women brought a class-action lawsuit against the company, heard by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana on 30 June 1967. Colgate eventually made reconciliation attempts and recalled laid-off plaintiffs after a strike, yet the suit continued over the issue of back pay and the sex-segregation system.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1963 to 1972Bowe v. Colgate-Palmolive - Significance, Protective Legislation, Gender Segregation, The First Round, Appeals Court Overrules, Impact