Walgreens to pay $24 million in landmark race discrimination class action
A federal judge in St Louis, USA, has granted a consent decree resolving a class race discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Walgreen, a national drug store chain. The decree, one of the largest monetary settlements ever in a race case backed by the EEOC, provides for the payment of over $24 million to a class of thousands of African American workers and orders comprehensive injunctive relief designed to improve the company’s promotion and job assignment practices.
The suit alleged that Walgreens discriminated against African American retail management and pharmacy employees in promotion, compensation and in the way job duties were assigned. The monetary payments will be shared by over 10,000 African American current and former store-level management employees across the country.
The decree also requires Walgreen to retain outside consultants to review and make recommendations regarding their employment practices, including standardised, non-discriminatory promotion and store assignment standards, procedures and promotional benchmarks. Walgreens is the largest drugstore chain in the USA, operating 6,237 stores with sales of $53.8 billion per year.
This landmark class action settlement follows ‘hot on the heels’ of the largest amount ever obtained by the EEOC for a single person in a race case – $2.5 million for Charles Martin, an employee of Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest military contractor, who was subjected to a racially hostile work environment at several job sites nationwide, including threats of lynching and the “N-word.”