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Robert Trigaux

After EEOC settlement, Colorado woman in gender discrimination suit nets $650,000



The bucks are starting to arrive.

As widely reported late last year (and by this Venture blog here), Tampa's OSI Restaurant Partners, parent of the Outback Steakhouse restaurant chain, is paying millions to settle a lawsuit alleging that it systematically stymied women from advancing to lucrative management ranks.

In a recent settlement with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Outback agreed to pay a total of $19 million to up to 20,000 current and former female employees. That's the largest payout ever negotiated for an EEOC case in the agency's Denver-based Western region. OSI  denied that it has discriminated against women and said it agreed to the settlement only to avoid "the cost and distraction of further litigation."

But justice was served. So says one of the original initiators of the lawsuit, Jennifer Turner-Rieger, 43, a University of Colorado graduate. She will collect $650,000 from the settlement pool, says the Daily Camera, Boulder, Colorado's newspaper. As Turner-Rieger told the paper:

"I really loved Outback, but they betrayed me. I felt I would get a fair shot because I'm a hard worker and an educated, smart woman. I gave them 10 years of my life, but they promoted other people just because they were men."

Turner-Rieger worked nearly every position at the Outback in the Colorado town of Westminster starting in 1994. As a fluent Spanish speaker, she was asked by chain executives to train employees in Mexico, Peru, Venezuela and Hong Kong. Here's the complete Daily Camera story with a photo of Turner-Rieger.

The mother of two now spends her time teaching art to children and volunteering in the community.

-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 11:27am]


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