Outdoor Equipment Chain Discriminated in Hiring and Punished Employees for Complaining, Federal Agency Charged
HOUSTON – Springfield, Mo.-based Bass Pro Outdoor World, LLC, a leading retailer of fishing, camping, and hunting equipment and apparel, has agreed to pay $10.5 million and provide other significant relief to settle a hiring discrimination and retaliation lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
The nationwide agreement seeks to strengthen and improve Bass Pro’s hiring and recruiting practices of African-Americans and Hispanics, and resolves a pattern-or-practice lawsuit filed by the EEOC on Sept. 21, 2011. The EEOC’s suit charged that the company discriminated in hiring at its retail stores, unlawfully retaliated against employees who opposed practices they believed to be unlawful, and failed to adhere to federal record-keeping laws and regulations.
A central focus of the agreement is strengthening Bass Pro’s diversity efforts and its commitment to non-discriminatory hiring, including appointment of a director of diversity and inclusion, affirmative outreach efforts to increase diversity in its workforce, updated EEO policies and hiring practices, and annual EEO training for management and non-management employees.
“The EEOC is pleased to have reached what the agency believes to be a fair resolution,” said EEOC Deputy General Counsel James Lee. “We look forward to working with Bass Pro in implementing the consent decree.”
EEOC Houston District Office Regional Attorney Rudy Sustaita said, “The EEOC commends Bass Pro for its efforts in bringing the pending litigation to a conclusion, and for its commitment to hiring a diverse workforce.”
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.