BLACK MOUNTAIN, N.C. -- (FNS) Ingles here is exploring the possibility of a settlement in a sex bias suit brought against the chain by four current and four former female employees.
A federal judge issued a litigation moratorium on the case until mid-September, while the two sides are in discussions. In September, both parties will report to a judge on their progress, and he will decide if the moratorium on litigation should be lifted.
However, there are "substantial" issues in dispute in the talks over a settlement, according to an attorney for the women.
"Both sides are proceeding carefully," said Pete Kline, an attorney for the women. Both the 200-store chain and the employees' attorneys have agreed to keep all settlement discussions confidential, he added.
Ingles officials could not be reached for comment.
Filed in federal court in Rome, Ga., the suit claimed that female employees at Ingles are relegated to positions such as cashier, deli and bakery, and are seldom promoted to management positions. In addition, the suit seeks to gain class action status.
The attorneys handling the case, the firm of Saperstein, Goldstein, Demchak & Baller, have won other cases against supermarket chains and other firms, including Denny's. In 1997, the firm won an $81.5 million judgment against Publix Super Markets over gender discrimination.