Walgreens accused of racial discrimination in federal class action

Ann Knef Jul. 21, 2005, 8:48am

Tiffany B. Klosener

Amy L. Coopman

Walgreens is accused of systemic racial discrimation and segregation against black employees nationwide, according to a class action lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Illinois.

The suit, which was brought by 11 former and current employees, seeks back pay, front pay, promotions, hirings and benefits, as well as punitive and compensatory damages. It also asks that Walgreens be ordered to carry out affirmative action programs.

"These decisions to discriminate and segregate are based in most instances on very subjective judgments of predominantly white upper level management," the suit states. The class covers more than 4,700 stores in 44 states.

The suit, filed June 20, claims discrimination in selection and promotions.

"Blacks are routinely denied and passed over for promotions despite their seniority, work experience and/or qualifications whlie less senior, less experienced and/or less qualified white persons are selected for promotions to the positions," the class action suit alleges.

It also claims that black management employees are "intentionally and systematically steered into black/low income" stores and segregated there.

"This segregation has a number of adverse career and economic consequences for the black management employees," the suit claims. "These stores have a higher customer volume but lower profitability than other stores. These stores are often more dangerous than other stores."

The members of the class claim that managers at "black/low income" stores aren't compensated fairly because the stores aren't as profitable.

The plaintiffs include:

  • John Tucker, a clerk in Missouri
  • Angela Miller, a former store manager in Missouri
  • Jovan Haney, an assistant store manager in Indiana
  • Leon Bradley, an executive store assistant in Missouri
  • Arien Jackson, a former assistant store manager
  • William Strickland, an executive store assistant
  • Oscar Green, a store manager in Florida
  • Kevin Riddle, an executive store assistant in Florida
  • Avery Anderson, a store manager in Michigan
  • Malica Page, a former service clerk in Missouri

    Relief also is being sought for:
  • Denying black employees promotions in retail and non-retail management based on race
  • Deterring and prohibiting black employees from seeking more desireable and/or higher paying positions and promotional opportunities
  • Denying black employees training
  • Assigning and segregating blacks to harder, less profitable store locations than white persons
  • Assigning and segregating black employees to locations and facilities in areas that have predominantly lower income customers
  • Providing unequal terms and conditions of employment
  • Subjecting black employees to a racially discriminatory work environment; and
  • Failing to hire blacks into the Assistant Store Manager/Management Trainee positions on the same basis as whites.

    The class is represented by Tiffany B. Klosener, Amy L. Coopman and W. James Foland of the Foland, Wickens, Eisfelder, Roper & Hofer firm in Kansas City and Kent Spriggs of the Spriggs Law Firm in Tallahassee, Fla.

  • More News