$50 Million, Less Attorneys’ Fees and Costs, Paid to Class Members in December 2005 in Abercrombie & Fitch Discrimination Lawsuit Settlement
To report any concerns regarding discrimination by Abercrombie, please contact the Monitor, Fred Alvarez, at (650) 493-9300.
In December 2005, the Claims Administrator in the Gonzalez v. Abercrombie & Fitch discrimination lawsuit settlement sent award checks to the over ten thousand class members who submitted valid claim forms in accordance with the process set forth by the Court in the April 2005 settlement order.
Checks ranged in size from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, in proportion to Class members’ damages and their contributions to the prosecution of the case.
If you have moved since you submitted your claim form, it is possible that a check was mailed to your past address. Please note that the checks became void after June 15, 2006, regardless of when they are received.
The Importance of Standing Up to Discrimination in the Workplace
Our attorneys have prosecuted and continue to investigate large-scale employment discrimination class actions. We have represented individuals and large classes of workers and applicants against companies in retail, financial services, food & beverage, transportation, and other industries who have discriminated on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, and other grounds.
If you are aware of widespread discrimination by a company anywhere in the United States, please contact us via email or by telephone at 1-800-541-7358 or 1-415-956-1000. We are available to discuss your experience with you, and, if appropriate, represent you in a discrimination case. However, there is no guarantee that we will be able to represent you.
Summary of the Settlement of the Abercrombie & Fitch Class Action Lawsuit
On April 14, 2005, Judge Susan Illston of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted final approval to a settlement of the class action lawsuit Gonzalez v. Abercrombie & Fitch. The settlement requires the retail clothing giant to pay $50 million, less attorneys’ fees and costs, to Latino, African American, Asian American and female applicants and employees who charged the company with discrimination.
The settlement also requires the company to institute a range of policies and programs to promote diversity among its workforce and to prevent discrimination based on race or gender. Abercrombie & Fitch Co. is a clothing retailer marketing to young adults, teenagers and children. It employs over 22,000 employees, most of whom are college-age adults, in over 700 stores throughout the United States.
Ongoing Consent Decree Governs Abercrombie’s Employment Practices into at Least 2009
The Consent Decree (settlement agreement) contains provisions related to the recruitment, hiring, job assignment, training, and promotion of Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister, and abercrombie kids employees. The Decree is effective immediately, pursuant to the Court’s order. An appointed Monitor will regularly evaluate and report on Abercrombie’s compliance with the provisions in the Consent Decree. These provisions include:
“Benchmarks” for hiring and promotion of women, Latinos, African Americans, and Asian Americans. These benchmarks are goals, rather than quotas, and Abercrombie will be required to report on its progress toward these goals at regular intervals;
A prohibition on targeting fraternities, sororities, or specific colleges for recruitment purposes;
Advertising of available positions in publications targeting minorities of both genders;
A new Office and Vice President of Diversity, responsible for reporting to the CEO on Abercrombie’s progress toward fair employment practices (the Office has already been created, and the VP has been hired and begun work);
The hiring of 25 recruiters who will focus on and seek women and minority employees. (At least 24 of the 25 have already been hired, and are working.);
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and Diversity Training for all employees with hiring authority;
Revision of Performance Evaluations for managers, making progress toward diversity goals a factor in their bonuses and compensation;
A new internal complaint procedure; and
Abercrombie marketing materials will reflect diversity by including members of minority racial and ethnic groups.
In addition, Abercrombie created a $40 million Settlement Fund for distribution to individual class members. Abercrombie will also pay attorneys’ fees and costs associated with monitoring compliance during the time that the Consent Decree is in effect (4.5 to 6 years from Final Approval, depending on Abercrombie’s progress). This will total approximately $10 million, bringing the total amount Abercrombie must pay to approximately $50 million. Click here to read the court-approved Consent Decree [pdf format]. The provisions in the Decree are currently in effect.
“The young men and women who applied to work at Abercrombie should have been judged on their qualifications, and not their skin color or gender. The class action settlement compensates class members for being subjected to the challenged practices and ensures that Abercrombie will improve its employment practices and diversity efforts nationwide,” commented Lieff Cabraser attorney Kelly M. Dermody.
About Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP
Founded in 1972, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP is a national law firm of over 50 attorneys with offices in San Francisco, New York and Nashville. We represent plaintiffs in federal and state courts across America in employment discrimination cases. Our lawyers have been at the forefront of innovative and significant lawsuits advancing the rights of employees nationwide. To learn more about Lieff Cabraser, click here.
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