Xerox settled the class action lawsuit out of court. The six former black employees filed suit in May of 2001, alleging race discrimination. The group said blacks were given less lucrative sales territories, a different set of sales quotas and were passed over for promotion.
The settlement followed preliminary approval by U.S. District Judge, John Gleeson. The lawsuit was filed in New York Federal Court by six black former Xerox sales representatives from New York, California, Texas and Georgia.
As usual in out-of-court settlements, the defendant denied it practiced unlawful discrimination. The Stamford, Conn. based company avoided extended litigation by settling, which it said was in the "best interests" of its shareholders and employees. The judge also demanded Xerox establish a task force -- that includes a diverse group of company employees -- to make sure African-American sales representatives are compensated by assigning sales territories on an impartial basis.
The lawsuit said that African-Americans were given less profitable sales territories compared to white workers. The plaintiffs maintained they also were passed over for promotions and were denied commissions they had earned.
Frank Warren, one of six plaintiffs, said he was assigned a sales territory in the Bronx that required a car. When he told supervisors he would have a hard time managing the territory since he didn't own a car, he said he was told by a company vice president he (Warren) was assigned to the Bronx because "blacks and the Bronx go hand in hand."
But Anne Mulcahy, Xerox chief executive, said she was pained to settle the lawsuit and that Xerox's record on diversity "is a source of corporate pride and competitive advantage," according to USA Today.