Wal-Mart settles racism lawsuit for $17.5 mln

NEW YORK (AFP) — Wal-Mart Stores have paid 17.5 million dollars to settle a class action lawsuit over alleged racial discrimination in the giant retailer’s hiring of truck drivers, the company said.

The suit was filed by Daryal Nelson and Tommy Armstrong who alleged that Wal-Mart, Inc. and Wal-Mart Transportation LLC had “discriminated against African Americans on the basis of race in recruitment and hiring.”

The world’s biggest retailer decided to settle the litigation “in the best interest of our company, our shareholders and our associates,” said spokeswoman Daphne Moore in a statement released late Friday.

“Encouraging diversity is an important part of the hiring process for all areas of our company,” she added.

“We are implementing improvements to our transportation division’s recruitment, selection and personnel systems and believe they will be an integral part of our commitment to diversity.”

According to the deal, Wal-Mart will provide “priority job placements to 23 of the class members who submit approved claim forms.”

The discount store also pledged to set “benchmark hiring goals so that the composition of future hires, by race, is proportionate to the racial composition of the applicants” and “enhance its recruitment efforts and advertising targeted to African-Americans.”

Hank Bates, an attorney representing the truck drivers, said his firm and clients were “very pleased with the settlement.”

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