by Max Brantley
As is customary, the White House has released the names of people who'll be joining First Lady Michele Obama in the audience for the State of the Union address. It's long custom to include people relevant to the speech. Tonight's guest list includes:
Amanda E. McMillan (Jackson, MS)
Pay Discrimination Victim
For a number of years Amanda McMillan worked as a secretary for the owner of a Forrest City Grocery Company. She was doing many of the same duties as male salespeople, but at lower pay. Despite repeatedly asking to be officially promoted to the better and higher-paying job in sales, she was told by the company that the job of a salesman was too dangerous for a woman, and that she would not be a good mother if she were on the road meeting customers. With the help of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), she sued the company for sex discrimination. The lawsuit charged that Forrest City Grocery denied sales positions to an employee because she was a woman and paid McMillan less than men doing the same work. When asked why she has pursued the case, McMillan said, “I’m doing this because it was wrong and I could never look my girls in the face and then tell them they live in America and could be anything they wanted to be.”As a result of the suit, Forrest City Grocery agreed to pay $125,000 in monetary damages and agreed to disseminate employment policies to employees and provide ongoing training for management on sex discrimination. Amanda, a mother of three, currently lives in Jackson, MS.
Forrest City Grocery is a tobacco and grocery wholesaler with business in six states based in Forrest City that was acquired by a holding company in April 2011. Here's the release issued later that year when the discrimination case was settled.