The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed its suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division. The suit says Bass Pro has been discriminating in its hiring since at least November 2005. It alleges that qualified African-Americans and Hispanics were routinely denied retail positions such as cashier, sales associate, team leader, supervisor, manager, and other positions at many Bass Pro stores nationwide.
The lawsuit alleges that managers at Bass Pro stores in the Houston area, Louisiana, and elsewhere made racially derogatory remarks acknowledging the discriminatory practices, including that hiring African-American candidates did not fit the corporate profile.
The lawsuit also claims that Bass Pro unlawfully destroyed or failed to keep records and documents related to employment applications and internal discrimination complaints. Bass Pro punished employees who opposed the company’s unlawful practices, in some instances firing them or forcing them to resign.
The EEOC claims Bass Pro is in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race and national origin, prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who complain about employment discrimination, and requires them to keep certain employment records.
The EEOC attempted to reach a voluntary settlement with Bass Pro before filing suit. The lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction prohibiting Bass Pro from engaging in race discrimination, national origin discrimination, retaliation, and improper record destruction. It also seeks back pay on behalf of victims of hiring discrimination and/or retaliation, compensatory and punitive damages and other relief, including implementing fair recruitment and hiring procedures, and reinstatement or rightful-place hiring of mistreated job applicants and former employees.
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