U.S. Lawsuit Accuses Toshiba Of Discrimination

NEW YORK (AP) — A human resources manager at a Toshiba America Inc. subsidiary sued the company Monday for $100 million, accusing the electronics giant of discriminating against women.

Elaine Cyphers, a North Carolina resident, brought the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan against the parent company and Toshiba America Nuclear Energy Corp., a subsidiary that promotes advanced boiling water nuclear power plants. The lawsuit seeks class-action status on behalf of women who are, or have been, employed by Toshiba in the United States.

The lawsuit says Toshiba underpays women, delays or blocks their promotion into better jobs, subjects them to stricter discipline and different rules than men and fails to respond adequately to complaints of discrimination. It says job promotions result from subjective discussions among Toshiba's male supervisors rather than by merit or equal opportunity.

"As a result, male employees have advanced and continue to advance more rapidly to better and higher paying jobs than female employees," the lawsuit says.

A message for comment left with a Toshiba spokesman was not immediately returned.

The lawsuit says Cyphers was told when she was hired in June 2008 that she would be the company's top human resources manager, and she relocated from Richmond, Virginia, to Falls Church, Virginia, with that expectation. But the company instead created a "senior human resources manager" position and hired a less qualified man to fill it as her supervisor, the lawsuit says.

It says the company paid her between $90,000 and $92,000 annually between 2008 and 2010 even though men in similar jobs at the company were paid about $120,000 annually.

The lawsuit says Toshiba discourages its employees from reporting or complaining about discrimination by failing to properly investigate complaints and by failing to take steps to prevent the recurrence of gender discrimination.

After Cyphers complained about the company's discriminatory practices, the company retaliated against her by blocking her opportunities for advancement, limiting her earnings and stopping her from returning to work after an approved medical leave, the lawsuit says.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.