Bentonville, Ark. Wal-Mart Stores reported Friday that it settled a class-action lawsuit that claimed the chain discriminated against African Americans seeking positions as truck drivers in Wal-Mart’s private fleet.
While Wal-Mart denied that it conducted any discriminatory actions, the retailer settled the lawsuit for $17.5 million. In addition, the retail behemoth has agreed to employ 23 of the class members who submit approved claim forms, and it will deliver notices of future employment opportunities to these members.
The chain also agreed to establish benchmark-hiring goals so that future hires, based on race, will be compensated proportionately to the composition of applicants. Wal-Mart also plans to revamp recruitment efforts and advertising targeted to African Americans, according to a company statement.
“Resolving this litigation is in the best interest of our company, our shareholders and our associates," said Daphne Moore, spokesperson for Wal-Mart Stores. "Encouraging diversity is an important part of the hiring process for all areas of our company. 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."