Albertsons to Pay $8.9M for Discrimination

December 16, 2009 ( - Albertsons, LLC, a national grocery chain, will pay $8.9 million to settle three employment discrimination lawsuits filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Oppor­tunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced.

The EEOC charged Albertsons with race, color, and national origin discrimination and retaliation at its Aurora, Colorado distribution center. The monetary relief will be distributed among 168 former and current employees.

According to the announcement, the first case, filed in 2006, alleged a pattern or practice of workplace harassment and discrimin­ation based on race, color and national origin.  The EEOC said minority employees were subjected to offensive epithets, as well as graffiti that included swastikas, lynching drawings, and white supremacist and anti-immigrant statements. According to the EEOC, managers were aware of, and even participated in, the harassment and discrimination.

The second lawsuit was filed in 2008 and alleged a pattern or practice of retaliation. The EEOC said dozens of employees complained about the discriminatory treatment and harassment and were subsequently given the harder job assignments, passed over for promotion, and even fired as retaliation.

The third case, also filed in 2008, alleged race discrimination on behalf of a single African American employee at the distribution center who was terminated.

Besides the monetary relief, Albertsons agreed to submit to four years of court-ordered monitor­ing, and to institute an extensive training program to ensure that management is aware of and will comply with equal employment opportunity laws in the future, the announcement said.