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Sep26

Promotions in Georgia

My supervisor says that assigning black store managers only to stores in predominantly black neighborhoods is common sense. I say it is illegal discrimination in

Georgia. Who is right?

You’ll be happy to know that you are absolutely right about this. It might seem on the surface to be common sense to place African-American managers in black stores, where it is assumed they would have a better connection with customers. But according to the law, this is discrimination.

The EEOC enforces a federal law called Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which disallows discrimination in either promotion or hiring based on skin color, race, sex, religion or national origin.

The EEOC brought a lawsuit on behalf of African American pharmacists and managers at Walgreen that applies to this situation. The managers and pharmacists argued that Walgreen, the biggest drugstore chain operation in the country, discriminated by often transferring them to stores in predominantly black neighborhoods. This, argued the EEOC on their behalf, led to their frequently being assigned to so-called “underperforming” stores. And that resulted in curtailment of their earning potential and other opportunities compared to employees who were not black.

The suit had originally been brought by EEOC on the managers’ behalf in stores in St. Louis, Kansas City,

Detroit, and

Tampa. But once it was converted to a class action suit, it quickly became nationwide. The out-of-court settlement cost Walgreen $20 million. The money was divided among 10,000 employees around the country, both former and current workers. It is important to note that Walgreen did not admit any wrongdoing in settling the suit, they simply choose to pay rather than wage a lengthy and potentially even more costly battle in court.

Title VII prohibits discrimination in hiring and promotion. It says discrimination is illegal in other areas of the workplace as well, including pay, job training, referral, classification, and discharge. It refers to discrimination when awarding benefits, including health insurance, discounts, and time off. Hiring or promotion must be based on qualified candidates without regard to skin color, according to Title VII.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 26th, 2007 at 8:32 pm and is filed under
Compensation, Hiring and Staffing, Human Resources Management, Labor Laws, Management / Leadership Development.
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