Discrimination Suits Linger at Coke

April 3, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Despite Coca-Cola's $192.5 million race bias settlement, a dissident group of African-American coke workers are pressing ahead to have their claims decided by a jury.

A group of federal court lawsuits by 19 current and former workers against Coca-Cola seek $1.5 billion from the soft drink maker. The plaintiffs are part of a small group of black workers who decided against being covered by the settlement of a 1999 race bias suit (see Seventeen Soda Suits Still Unsettled ).

Attorney William Gary who represents the 19 workers, charged that Coca-Cola continued discriminating against blacks even after the settlement.

Like the 2,200 workers covered by the settlement, Gary’s clients charge that they were discriminated against by not getting equal pay, equal consideration for promotions, and fair treatment in performance reviews.

More than 85% of the workers involved in the settlement have agreed to the deal and have already received cash payments of $38,000 each, according to Reuters.

For its part, the company has denied wrongdoing and said it was committed to improving its workplace diversity efforts.

Former Department of Labor Secretary Alexis Herman chairs an independent task force charged with monitoring Coca-Cola’s compliance with the settlement terms (see Seven Up to Task at Coca-Cola ).