An Illinois federal judge approved a $24 million race discrimination settlement between Walgreen Co. and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). One of the largest-ever monetary settlements in a race case filed by the EEOC will benefit thousands of African Americans, according to the Associated Press.
Legal counsel will share about $4.5 million in fees separate from the settlement amount, according to theledger.com.
The EEOC filed its suit in March 2007, alleging the suburban Chicago-based Walgreen discriminated against African American retail management and pharmacy employees in terms of promotion and compensation.
The settlement resolves the EEOC's litigation and a private class suit filed in June 2005 on behalf of 14 African American current and former Walgreen employees. The settlement will be shared by 10,000 African American past and present Walgreen management employees.
Walgreen denies wrongdoing but will follow the judge's decree, said Walgreen spokeswoman Tiffani Bruce. "We do not tolerate discrimination in any aspect of employment. We're the drug-store industry leader when it comes to the employment and promotion of African-American managers and pharmacists."
Walgreen reported it has 230,000 employees in 6,237 stores across 49 states and Puerto Rico.
The judge's ruling mandates Walgreen make recommendations regarding its employment practices, including non-discriminatory promotion.