Lockheed Martin Faces Class Action for Sex Discrimination

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Lockheed Martin has been sued in federal court in a class action for sex discrimination. The complaint alleges that women are being denied professional advancement opportunities in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.

The plaintiff filed the class action suit on behalf of herself and all current and former female management level employees who have been denied upper management level positions outside of the Human Resources, Communications and Ethics departments. This includes women nationwide who have been affected by Lockheed Martin's discriminatory practices since March 1, 2006.

The lead plaintiff, Carol Bell, a veteran of the company, asserts that she and other females employed by Lockheed Martin face a "glass ceiling bias" that prevents them from being considered for upper anagement level positions. Moreover, according to the suit, the women that do hold these senior leadership positions are primarily relegated to "traditionally female" departments, such as Human Resources, Ethics, and Communications. The complaint alleges that in the rare case when women are able to obtain senior positions, they are paid less than the men who previously held the same position.

According to the complaint, it is Lockheed Martin's practice to not post openings for positions Director-level and above (contrary to its policy for lower-level positions which are posted). The complaint also alleges that in regard to these management positions, Lockheed Martin does not have an application or a formal interview process and instead makes promotion decisions in secret meetings behind closed doors in which women often are not present. Plaintiff also alleges that Lockheed Martin denies women leadership and mentoring opportunities. Plaintiff alleges that, in contrast, male employees with lesser qualifications and experience find themselves on a fast track to being promoted.

The suit seeks an order that Lockheed Martin establish fair employment practices in which promotion and hiring are concerned, an injunction that would bar the corporation from any acts of discrimination in the future and compensatory and punitive damages.

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