Dillard’s, Inc., a well-known department store chain based out of Little Rock, Arkansas, will pay $900,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by the EEOC for alleged failure to promote African American employees based on race.  The EEOC also alleged that Dillard’s discriminated in its intern-selection process based on race.

In its suit against the company, the EEOC contended that Dillard’s failed to promote black employees into supervisory and management positions and failed to hire black interns, displaying signs of systemic Race Discrimination.  According to the EEOC, Dillard’s violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as amended, by engaging in the following unlawful practices:

Failure to Promote

Dillard’s allegedly failed to promote several black employees to managerial positions based on race. For a failure to promote claim to survive dismissal, a plaintiff must show:

  1. He or she belongs to a protected class;
  2. He or she applied and was qualified for a promotion;
  3. He or she was rejected despite qualifications; and
  4. Other equally or less-qualified employees outside of his or her class were promoted.

“Tap on the Shoulder Policy”

In this case, according to the EEOC, Dillard’s didn’t give several African Americans the opportunity for promotion at all.  Dillard’s allegedly failed to inform employees of managerial vacancies.  The EEOC contended that instead of notifying all employees of the vacant jobs, allowing any qualified employee to apply, Dillard’s employed a “tap on the shoulder” approach.  According to the EEOC, that meant Dillard’s hand-picked Caucasian employees to fill the vacant supervisory role without allowing other employees to apply for the job.  Further, the EEOC complained that Dillard’s had no written promotion policy in place to prevent such discriminatory actions.

Discriminatory Intern Selection

Dillard’s purportedly had a practice of recruiting college students to become paid interns in its Buyers Program, where the students—after a showing of successful performance as an intern—had the opportunity to “jump start” a career in management.  Out of 41 interns placed in the program, the EEOC contended that only one intern was black.   The EEOC ultimately alleged that Dillard’s “deprive[d] African American college students of equal employment opportunities . . . because of their race, Black.”

Ultimately, Dillard’s opted to settle the case for $900,000, a favorable outcome for the employees who were adversely affected by the discriminatory actions of Dillard’s.

Our firm has extensive experience in representing clients who have been subjected to Race Discrimination, or other unlawful hiring and promotion practices.  For a free consultation, call our office at (205) 588-0699 or visit us online at http://www.beckumlaw.com

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