The apparel company Wet Seal has agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle a class-action race discrimination lawsuit.
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund represented former African-American employees who claim that the Wet Seal discriminated against them by denying them equal pay and promotion opportunities and by firing them because of their race and replacing them with white employees.
The EEOC found in December 2012 that former employee Nicole Cogdell was discriminated against by Wet Seal executives when she was removed from her managerial position at a Pennsylvania Wet Seal store.
According to the EEOC, the Wet Seal’s “corporate managers have openly stated they wanted employees who had the ‘Armani look, were white, had blue eyes, thin and blond in order to be profitable.'”
The Wet Seal also agreed to make changes in its HR policies as part of the lawsuit settlement. The company promised to ensure diversity among its store employees, and it will add to its HR department so that it will be able to investigate future employee discrimination complaints.
[Image: Flickr user Gulf Coast Retail]