Bass Pro Sued For Failing to Hire Blacks and Hispanics Nationwide
Bass Pro Outdoor World, LLC (Bass Pro), an outdoor retail leader in hunting, camping, nature gifts, outdoor cooking, and much more, has engaged in a pattern of failing to hire African-American and Hispanic applicants for its positions in its retail stores nationwide and retaliating against employees who opposed the discrimination practices. The retailer operates around 60 stores across America and Canada.
The U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a lawsuit today in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, alleging that Bass Pro has been discriminating in its hiring since at least November 2005. According to the EEOC suit, qualified African-Americans and Hispanics were routinely denied retail positions such as cashier, sales associate, team leader, supervisor, manager and other positions at many Bass Pro stores nationwide.
Bass Pro store managers in the Houston area, Louisiana and elsewhere made overtly racially derogatory remarks acknowledging the discriminatory practices, including statements that hiring black candidates did not fit the corporate profile, according to the lawsuit.
“Excluding qualified individuals from employment because of their race or ethnicity or in retaliation for exercising protected rights are fundamental violations of the laws we enforce,” said Jacqueline A. Berrien, Chair of the EEOC. “The EEOC will diligently protect the rights of job applicants to ensure that hiring decisions are based on abilities, not on race or ethnicity.”
The lawsuit also alleges that Bass Pro unlawfully destroyed or failed to keep records and documents related to employment applications and internal discrimination complaints. Furthermore, employees who opposed the company’s unlawful practices were fired or forced to resign in some instances.
According to the lawsuit, Bass Pro violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race and national origin, and prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who complain about employment discrimination and requires them to keep certain employment records.
“As a law enforcement agency, the EEOC is uniquely positioned to challenge systemic hiring discrimination,” said P. David Lopez, General Counsel of the EEOC. “It is unlawful for employers to deny jobs to applicants based on their race or national origin and the EEOC will vigorously pursue such cases and require companies to reform their hiring practices and make victims of the discrimination whole.”
According to the agency, The EEOC’s administrative investigation culminated in findings of class-wide hiring discrimination based on statistical and anecdotal evidence, and retaliation. In fact, the EEOC attempted to reach a voluntary settlement with Bass Pro before filing the suit.
The lawsuit is seeking a permanent injunction prohibiting Bass Pro from engaging in race discrimination, national origin discrimination retaliation, and improper record destruction. It is also seeking back pay on behalf of victims of hiring discrimination and/or retaliation, compensatory and punitive damages and other relief, including implementing fair recruitment and hiring procedures, and reinstatement or rightful-place hiring of mistreated job applicants and former employees.
Individuals who believe they may have been denied a position at Bass Pro because of their race (African-American or black) or ethnicity (Hispanic or Latino) or who have any information that would be helpful to the EEOC’s suit against Bass Pro should contact the EEOC toll free at (855) 857-8747 or by e-mail at Basspro.firstname.lastname@example.org.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Additional information about the EEOC is available on the agency’s web site at www.eeoc.gov.