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Good ol’ boy network could cost you millions

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Hiring,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training

National pharmacy chain Walgreens has settled with the EEOC on charges that the company racially discriminated against some 10,000 current and former black employees when setting pay, making assignments and deciding who to promote. The $24 million settlement is one of the EEOC’s largest in a race discrimination case.

The settlement resolves one in a string of cases involving subjective hiring and promotion practices and their impact on minorities and women. The EEOC has been investigating what it calls “systemic discrimination.” Those are cases in which no one particular discriminatory act violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, but a broad pattern of business practices has a disparate impact on protected classes of employees. (EEOC v. Walgreen Co., S.D. Il. 07-CV-172-GPM and Tucker v. Walgreen Co., S.D. Il. 05-CV-440-GPM)

Advice: Check to see if there’s a “good ol' boy” network growing in your organization. Do promotions and raises truly reward all high-performing employees regardless of their race or gender, and not just those who gain management’s favor?

Final note: Click here to learn more about the EEOC's 2008 enforcement efforts.

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