gavel.jpgThe U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission today announced a settlement of a lawsuit that accused a South San Francisco motorcycle dealership of refusing to allow a female employee to work as a mechanic.

The agreement between the EEOC and Dudley Perkins Co. was signed by U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken in Oakland on Friday and announced by the EEOC’s regional office in San Francisco today.

Dudley Perkins, founded in 1914, operates a Harley Davidson motorcycle dealership in South San Francisco and a store selling Harley Davidson clothing and accessories at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.

Under the settlement, the company will pay the former employee, Bowen Blackswan, $55,000 and revise its anti-discrimination policy and procedures.

The EEOC’s 2008 lawsuit alleged the company discriminated against Blackswan by refusing to allow her to work as a mechanic and unfairly fired her in 2006 in retaliation for complaining.

EEOC Regional Attorney William Tamayo said Blackswan was trained as a motorcycle mechanic and wanted to work as one, but after being hired in 2005 was shunted to an office job as a warranty administrator.

Tamayo said, “Breaking into jobs in non-traditional fields continues to be a challenge for women, and despite the prohibitions on sex discrimination written into federal law in 1964, some sex segregation in employment continues.

“This settlement will help the motorcycle industry take a step forward,” Tamayo said.

Blackswan now lives in Honolulu, Tamayo said.

The company’s president, Tom Perkins, and lawyer, Gaylinn Conant of Oakland, were out of their offices today and not available for comment.

The settlement specifies that the company does not admit to any liability by agreeing to the pact.

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