Best Buy has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit filed in California in 2005 by a number of current, former and prospective employees. The plaintiffs accused the company of race discrimination and sex discrimination by refusing to provide desirable promotions, assignments and transfers to Latino, African-American and female workers, which violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
According to a Reuters article by Martinne Geller and Dhanya Skariachan, Best Buy agreed to pay damages to the nine plaintiffs. Best Buy also agreed to implement new measures to prevent similar occurrences in the future. The company agreed to add a position dedicated to improving workplace diversity and enforcing anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation policies.
A spokesperson for the plaintiffs says the group is pleased with the lawsuit's outcome, explaining that the implementation of improved anti-discrimination policies is more important than short-term financial awards in such cases. A U.S. District Judge has yet to approve the accord, but is expected to do so in a matter of months. Shortly thereafter, a hearing will be held to consider final approval.
According to the piece in Reuters, people knowledgeable about the case believe that the giant class-action sex discrimination lawsuit against Wal-Mart that was still pending at the time of the settlement may have caused Best Buy and the plaintiffs to settle their own suit more quickly. The Supreme Court ended up ruling in favor of Wal-Mart, which may make it harder for employees to bring class-action lawsuits alleging discrimination against their employers.