Here is a list of racial discrimination cases filed against major corporations:
BMW has to pay up $1.6 million to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit filed in June 2013, AP reports. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission hit BMW with a lawsuit, claiming that one of its South Carolina facilities used a criminal background check policy that unfairly impacted African-Americans. Consequently, out of 645 experienced employees, 88 were denied rehire, including 70 Blacks, the commission revealed. Similar lawsuits against big-name companies focus national attention on the mistreatment that workers of color claim to face.
Louis Vuitton is being sued by London sales associate Oliver Koffi. Koffi claims that during a discussion with his manager and some other employees in December of 2013, his manager said “Black people are slaves and eat dirt off the floor.”
United Parcel Service – Eight United Parcel Service employees are suing the company for racial discrimination, poor treatment based on race and retaliation after they complained.
Tiffany & Co. – A recent lawsuit launched by Michael McClure, a group director at Tiffany & Co., has accused the jewelry retailer of a “systemic, nationwide pattern and practice of racial discrimination.” McClure pointed to the fact that he is the only African-American among more than 200 management positions, and also cited other incidents.
General Electric – In 2010, 57 Black General Electric workers filed a suit against the company for racial discrimination, saying a supervisor called them racial slurs, denied them bathroom and medical breaks and fired Blacks based on their race. An out-of-court settlement was reached. GE also faced additional racial discrimination suits in 2005, 2006 and 2008, all of which were settled for more than $14 million collectively.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. – Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has also come under fire for racial discrimination several dozen times since the 1990s. About 4,500 Black truck drivers, who had applied to work for Wal-Mart, sued the multi-national retail corporation for racial discrimination. The company settled for $17.5 million in 2009, but denied any wrongdoing.
Abercrombie & Fitch – In a 2003 lawsuit that made headlines for clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch, Black, Latino and Asian employees complained that they were placed in stock-room jobs and disregarded for sales floor positions because they did not look “classically American.” They also alleged they had been fired and replaced by white workers. The suit was settled for $40 million.
Southern California Edison – In 2010, a group of 11 current and former Black employees hit utility juggernaut Southern California Edison with its third racial-discrimination class-action lawsuit. The suit blamed the company for a host of unfair and biased treatment, including consistently denying them promotions and not paying fairly. A 1994 suit resulted in a settlement for more than $11 million and required diversity training.
Coca-Cola Company – Class action lawsuits were filed against the multinational beverage corporation and manufacturer by current and former African-American workers in 1999. Coca-Cola denied the allegations, but agreed to a $192 million settlement, the largest settlement ever in a corporate racial-discrimination case. Nonetheless, a 2013 lawsuit called the company a “giant cesspool of discrimination.”
Comcast – Comcast, the largest mass media and communications company in the world, is no stranger to racial discrimination lawsuits. This year, a former African-American employee slapped the company with a suit after being allegedly mistreated by a new supervisor because of his race. Suits were also filed in 2011, 2010 and 2004.
McDonald’s Corporation – has agreed to a $33.5 million settlement in a case involving a former baseball player who accused the company of racial discrimination in allocating its franchise locations.
What Happened: Herbert Washington, a former Oakland A’s player, owned more than a dozen McDonald’s restaurants in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Washington, who is Black, filed a lawsuit against the company in February 2021 claiming McDonald’s restricted him to low-volume locations in predominantly Black neighborhoods, then forced him to downsize after grading his locations unfairly.
According to an Associated Press report, McDonald’s said the settlement being paid to Washington for his 13 franchises was “no more than what we deem a fair price for the value of the restaurants.” The company was not required to admit wrongdoing in its settlement.
White’s Bakery located in Brockton, Massachusetts will pay up to $95,000 in fines and restitution after allegations that a mixed-race employee was “repeatedly exposed” to racial slurs on the job, forcing him to eventually quit.
Attorney General Maura Healey’s office announced the settlement on Thursday. The bakery will review its anti-discrimination policies and require anti-bias training for employees.
Healey’s office had brought a lawsuit alleging White’s Bakery created a “racially hostile work environment.” A long-time supervisor was accused of using slurs in front of subordinate employees.
According to the complaint, one of the victims worked at White’s Bakery for four months in 2018. Management allegedly knew that the supervisor used the racial slurs, but took no action.
“Workers should be able to do their job in an environment safe and free from harassment,” Healey said in a statement. “Employers need to ensure that they have the right training, policies and accountability to make sure things like this don’t happen in their workplaces.”
Following the settlement, White’s Bakery will pay the victim $65,000 and $30,000 to the state. Of that, $15,000 will be suspended pending compliance with the agreement.
“Discrimination anywhere should not be tolerated,” Phyllis Ellis, President of the Brockton Area Branch of the NAACP, said. “White’s Bakery and its management have been held accountable for creating an unacceptable and racially hostile work environment. I was hopeful that this lawsuit would bring change in policy at White’s Bakery, and I think it has.”
In a statement, White’s Bakery denied any wrongdoing:
“For the past two years, White’s Bakery has vehemently fought false allegations that the bakery’s owners in any way tolerated workplace discrimination against a former employee. White’s Bakery is a responsible, progressive employer that has always opposed discrimination of any kind. We always embrace people for who they are. We do everything possible to operate on the basis of respect, understanding, and dignity.”
“White’s Bakery denies any wrongdoing or liability in connection with claims brought by the AG’s office. In an effort to move forward without the continued burden, stress, distraction and substantial financial obligations that accompany litigation, White’s Bakery reached a settlement with the AG’s office.”
Should you be experiencing racial discrimination in your Massachusetts workplace, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation.