Bass Pro Shops to Pay $10.5 Million to Settle EEOC Lawsuit

(CN) – Bass Pro Outdoor World agreed on Wednesday to pay $10.5 million to settle hiring discrimination and retaliation claims brought by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The Commission claimed in a 2011 lawsuit that the Springfield, Mo.-based retailer of fishing, hunting and other outdoor gear failed to hire  qualified black and Hispanic job applicants, and retaliated against some employees who objected to the hiring practices.

The complaint also says the retailer failed to adhere to federal record-keeping laws and regulations.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement Bass Pro Outdoor World agreed to appoint a director of diversity and inclusion to collaborate on hiring and to step up its outreach to potential employees from the minority community.

Bass Pro Outdoor has consistent maintained it committed no wrong-doing, and in a written statement said as part of the agreement, “the EEOC and Bass Pro jointly agreed to language that affirms that there has not been any finding that Bass Pro engaged in discrimination.”

“This agreement reflects a commitment by Bass Pro and the EEOC to resolve the litigation as part of a collaborative effort to further strengthen Bass Pro’s hiring practices,” the company said, adding the $10.5 million payment doesn’t “constitute an admission by Bass Pro of any violation of any federal discrimination law or any other laws.”

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