Judge Approves $17.5M Settlement in Wal-Mart Race Bias Suit

July 10, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A federal judge has given final approval to a $17.5-million settlement of a lawsuit that accused Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of racial discrimination in its hiring of truck drivers.

The settlement includes job placements for 23 of the black drivers who sued, according to the Associated Press. The company will also have to notify other members of the class of future openings and establish hiring goals so that the company hires in proportion to the ethnic makeup of its applicants.

The AP said Wal-Mart also agreed to put greater effort into minority recruitment and target some of its jobs advertising to reach African-Americans. The settlement stipulates that the agreement is not evidence that Wal-Mart engaged in discrimination or any other unlawful conduct.

Daryal Nelson filed the suit in 2004, stating that Wal-Mart rejects and discourages black applicants for truck-driving jobs at the chain’s distribution centers in twelve states, all of them in the South (see Suit Alleges Wal-Mart Discriminates Against Black Truck Drivers ).

Attorney Morgan “Chip” Welch said that of the approximately 4,500 plaintiffs, those that applied earliest stand to receive the greatest settlement payments, according to the news report.