Wet Seal Pays $7.5M in Racial Discrimination Suit

Former employees claimed management fired African Americans because they didn't fit Wet Seal's brand image

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Wet Seal settles a $7.5 million class action discrimination lawsuit that stemmed from a complaint by a manager at the King of Prussia store. The manager from Delaware County alleged that a supervisor told her she was being fired from Wet Seal because of her race. NBC 10’s Rosemary Connors reports. (Published Thursday, May 9, 2013)

    Wet Seal Inc. has agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle a federal racial discrimination lawsuit filed by three of the retailer's former employees.
     
    The NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Wet Seal announced the agreement Thursday.
     
    The class action suit stemmed from a complaint filed by Nicole Cogdell, a manager at the King of Prussia store who was fired after she claimed her supervisor told her it was because she was black.

    Cogdell got a hold of an email from corporate that mentioned concern over African American employees.

    “It’s very unusual that you will have something like the email that we had that said ‘too many African Americans on store teams, huge issue,’” Attorney Nancy DeMis told NBC10's Rosemary Connors.

    Former employees claimed management set out to fire African-Americans because they didn't fit the retailer's "brand image."

    Wet Seal CEO John D. Goodman says in a statement that the company appreciates the insights gained in the lawsuit and is committed to nondiscriminatory employment practices.

    Close to $5.5 million of the settlement will go to current and some former African American managers at Wet Seal stores.

    A judge must approve the settlement at a June hearing.

     


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