The Kroger Company will pay $16 million to settle a race discrimination lawsuit by 12 current and former employees. The lawsuit accused the Cincinnati-based grocery chain of blocking the promotions of black employees and paying them less than whites.
The settlement includes back pay and benefits. It will be placed in a fund and disbursed among black workers who meet certain criteria.
The plaintiffs worked at Kroger stores in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas, but the lawsuit says discrimination occurred at “all stores and geographic areas.”
Kroger Chairman and CEO David Dill said there has been no finding that Kroger engaged in discrimination. “We take our commitment to inclusion and our policies against discrimination very seriously,” he wrote in a memo to workers. “The plaintiffs … obviously felt strongly that the company was not treating them fairly or respectfully. No one in our company should feel this way.”
A court must approve the settlement.
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