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Male Electrolux Lawyer Denied Top Job Drops Sex Bias Lawsuit

July 27, 2021, 3:22 PM

An in-house lawyer with Electrolux NA Inc. has agreed to drop a lawsuit alleging he was denied promotion from interim to permanent general counsel because he’s a man, according to a filing in federal court in North Carolina.

Swedish parent company “Electrolux AB publicly expressed its discriminatory preference for female leadership/managerial candidates by establishing targets and quotas to substantially increase the percentage of women in leadership/managerial positions by the end of 2020,” Sal Kafiti alleged. The companies also told an outside recruiter that Electrolux AB’s global general counsel and Electrolux NA’s president were likely to express a strong preference for female candidates, according to the suit.

As a result, a woman was recommended for the permanent job before Kafiti even had a chance to interview, he claimed. Electrolux also embarked upon a campaign of retaliation when he raised concerns about the bias, including by pressuring him to resign if he insisted on pursuing a sex discrimination charge or lawsuit, Kafiti said.

Kafiti brought sex discrimination and retaliation claims under Title VII and North Carolina law.

The parties on Monday filed a joint stipulation of dismissal with prejudice with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina. Counsel for Kafiti and Electrolux NA didn’t immediately respond to Bloomberg Law’s requests for comment.

Polk Kabat LLP and Strianese Huckert LLP represent Kafiti. Robinson, Elliott & Smith represents Electrolux AB and senior vice president Mikael Östman. Fisher & Phillips LLP represents Electrolux NA, its president Nolan Pike, vice president Mike Guttas, and Electrolux Home Products Inc. Van Hoy, Reutlinger, Adams & Pierce PLLC represents ESQ Recruiting LLC and its president Vanessa Vidal.

The case is Kafiti v. Aktiebolaget Electrolux, W.D.N.C., No. 3:21-cv-00029, joint stipulation of dismissal 7/26/21.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Flood in Washington at bflood@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Patrick L. Gregory at pgregory@bloomberglaw.com

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