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Wet Seal settles race discrimination lawsuit

The young woman's retailer Wet Seal announced earlier this month that it will pay $7.5 million to settle a race discrimination and wrongful termination lawsuit . The allegations contained in the lawsuit were much more aggressive than what is typically seen in discrimination cases here in South Florida.

In this case, high-ranking Wet Seal executives were accused of carrying out a plan of removing black store managers in order to replace them with white employees. The goal of this plan was apparently to have the employees in the stores fit a certain brand image.

Back in December, in the culmination of a three-year investigation, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found that the company fired one manager from a Pennsylvania store in order to replace her with a white woman. The EEOC concluded that Wet Seal aimed to fill all of its stores with blonde-haired blue-eyed women.

Although the company has agreed to this settlement, with most of the money being paid to former and current black Wet Seal managers, it has not admitted fault.

Wet Seal has also agreed, however, to begin to promote diversity in hiring as well as better investigate any discrimination complaints that arise.

Although race discrimination has been outlawed since 1964, it does unfortunately still play a role in a number of workplaces. It is important that companies that practice illegal discrimination in hiring or in the treatment of employees in Florida are held accountable. Victims of workplace discrimination are often entitled to compensation for lost wages and other damages. Pursuing a discrimination or wrongful termination action is also an important way to bring such wrongdoing to light and help ensure a company puts a stop to such practices.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Wet Seal to pay $7.5 million to settle race discrimination suit," Tiffany Hsu, May 9, 2013

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