Outdoor Retailer to Pay $10.5 Million in EEOC Hiring Discrimination Case

Author: David B. Weisenfeld, XpertHR Legal Editor

July 26, 2017

The Missouri-based Bass Pro Outdoor World will pay $10.5 million to settle a case brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that accused the company of widespread hiring discrimination and retaliation. The money will compensate eligible African-American and Hispanic job candidates who were passed over for jobs.

The lawsuit also claimed that Bass Pro retaliated against employees who opposed practices they believed to be unlawful and that it destroyed records relevant to whether unlawful employment practices had been committed. The EEOC analyzed Bass Pro's hiring data and reportedly found that African-Americans were underrepresented in more than 95 percent of the company's stores while Hispanic employees were underrepresented in more than 70 percent.

In a statement announcing the settlement, EEOC General Counsel David Lopez said, "It is unlawful for employers to deny jobs to applicants based on their race or national origin, and the EEOC will vigorously pursue such cases and require companies to reform their hiring practices and make victims of discrimination whole."

Bass Pro did not admit any wrongdoing as part of the agreement, which still has to be approved by US District Judge Keith Ellison in the Southern District of Texas.

As part of the settlement, Bass Pro also will appoint a director of diversity and inclusion to step up its hiring efforts and improve its outreach to minority communities. In addition, the company will update its EEO policies and ensure that annual EEO training for management and non-management employees takes place.