Denver Albertsons will pay $8.9 million to 168 African American and Hispanic workers who said they were subjected to racial taunts and graffiti-laced bathrooms depicting lynchings and swastikas, federal officials said Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.
The money is part of a settlement agreement between Albertsons and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which represented the workers in three lawsuits involving the company's warehouse distribution center in suburban Denver.
The settlement will be distributed among 168 former and current employees, the EEOC said.
The agency said African American and Hispanic workers were repeatedly the targets of racial slurs. The graffiti in the restroom also included white supremacist and anti-immigrant statements, according to the first lawsuit filed in 2006.
The graffiti "was so offensive that several employees would relieve themselves outside the building or go home at lunchtime rather than use the restroom," EEOC attorneys said.
Supervisors knew about the harassment and participated in it, EEOC attorneys claimed, the report said.
Albertsons spokeswoman Christine Wilcox said the company maintains that the allegations of racial discrimination happened before it took over operations at the distribution center in June 2006.
"Although we vigorously disputed the allegations made by EEOC, we nonetheless worked in good faith with the EEOC to come to a resolution consistent with our policy of a discrimination and harassment-free environment and to put to an end to continued costly and disruptive litigation," Wilcox said in a written statement.