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Wal-Mart to Pay $17.5 M Racial Bias Settlement

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., will pay $17.5 million to settle a lawsuit claiming the company discriminated against African-Americans in recruiting and hiring truck drivers.

The lawsuit was filed in 2004 by Daryal Nelson, who claimed he was rejected for a truck-driver position because of his race. Nelson filed the suit in federal court in Helena, Arkansas, on behalf of all black applicants who believe they were rejected or deterred from applying for the positions because of race. The lawsuit was given class-action, or group, status in May 2007.

Wal-Mart’s motions to dismiss the case or decertify the class were denied last month.

The company, based in Bentonville, Arkansas, agreed to provide priority placements for 23 black applicants who provide approved claim forms, according to the statement. The retailer also will establish benchmark hiring goals to ensure diversity, the workers and Wal-Mart said.

The case is Nelson v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., 04-00171, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas (Helena)

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