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Federal Court Grants Final Approval of Class Action Settlement on behalf of Black Managers at Wet Seal Stores

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

On Monday, December 9, 2013, a federal district court approved a $7.5 million settlement of a national class action lawsuit, which alleged that Wet Seal had a policy of denying equal pay and promotion opportunities and firing African-American store management employees, clearing the way for implementation of the injunctive relief and payments to the class of current and former black managers.

In its order approving the settlement, the court recognized that the settlement is a fair and just result for the class.

As part of the settlement Wet Seal has agreed to make numerous changes to address the discrimination charges brought by black store-level managers and to improve fairness and opportunity for current and future African American Managers.  Wet Seal also agreed to pay $7.5 million in monetary relief, including damages to current and former African-American managers of $5.58 million.

Under the settlement Wet Seal will:

  • Pay $5.58 million into a fund for current and past workers affected;
  • Track applications to ensure diversity in applications and hiring;
  • Expand Wet Seal’s human resources department to better investigate complaints of discrimination;
  • Post store management and District Director openings;
  • Hire experts to develop updated job-related hiring, promotion, and compensation policies and practices;
  • Hire experts to develop performance evaluation tools for store management employees;
  • Maintain a Diversity and Inclusion Council made up of a diverse group of current employees that will advise the company on topics including equal employment in recruiting, hiring, and compensation; and 
  • Regularly review and report on hiring, promotions and terminations of minority employees. 

The settlement agreement, the lawsuit, and additional information are available here.