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Florida retailer, federal government negotiate settlement

The federal government and a Florida-based retailer of sports apparel have reached an agreement to settle in a case of alleged racial discrimination filed in 2018. Now it only remains for a judge to give consent, which both the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the retailer have requested jointly. 

Despite recognition as one of the best companies for diversity on the basis of anonymous employee surveys analyzed by the website Comparably.com, the retailer faced a lawsuit on the basis of alleged discrimination from the EEOC in July of last year. The lawsuit claimed that, on his first day of work at the company, a black employee heard someone call him a racial slur and later received threats of employer retaliation after making complaints about the perceived unequal treatment of black employees. While a company spokesperson claimed that the allegations dated back five years, verifiable records of the worker's date of hire are not available, nor is it clear how long he worked for the company before making any complaint.

Under the terms of the settlement, the employee involved in the suit will receive insurance benefits for 18 months after his last day on the job, compensation amounting to $265,000 and $57,050 in back pay. The settlement allows the retailer to deny that it violated the law but requires it to take steps to distribute its anti-discrimination policy to employees. 

Claims of discrimination and harassment can cause a loss of reputation from which it may be difficult, if not impossible, to recover. Those facing such claims from current or former employees may wish to seek the assistance of an attorney. 

 

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