Retailer Wet Seal has decided to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit that alleged that the company fired black employees from its stores in order to present itself as a white, blond, blue-eyed company.
The lawsuit had been fired by the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and alleged that the retailer frequently denied higher pay and promotion opportunities to black employees and managers at its stores. In some cases, these black employees were terminated from their positions, and replaced with white employees.
in December, the company suffered a major legal setback when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that the company had discriminated against a black manager at a Pennsylvania store, by removing her from her job. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission conducted an investigation into the death of the company which determined that the company had purposely sought out a white blonde, blue-eyed look for the company profile, and hired workers who met that profile.
Now, the company has decided to pay $7.5 million to settle the lawsuit. Out of the damages, $5.58 million will go into a fund that has been set up to finance the damages suffered by other employees of the company due to such bias.
Wet Seal has also decided to make several changes to its policies. The retailer has promised to track job applications in order to ensure diverse hiring practices as well as modification of its kind human resource development in order to facilitate better investigation of discrimination complaints. The company will also set up and maintain a council of advisors who will be entrusted with the task of advising the company on equal employment compliance