Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, 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 his lawsuit 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 status in May 2007. Wal-Mart’s motions to dismiss the case or decertify the class were denied last month.
Under the settlement Wal-Mart will provide priority placements for 23 black applicants who provide approved claim forms. The retailer also will have to establish benchmark hiring goals to ensure diversity. Lawyers for the workers and Wal-Mart have asked the judge to set a June 30 hearing to consider approval of the settlement.
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