Court Approves $6.5 Million Settlement in Race-Discrimination Lawsuit Against Grocery Chain
An Arizona federal court has preliminarily approved a settlement in a lawsuit alleging that Bashas’ Inc. paid Hispanic workers less than comparable non-Hispanic workers from 1998 to 2007 in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Parra v. Bashas’ Inc., No. 2-591 (D. Ariz., order entered October 21, 2014). The plaintiffs were employees at Bashas’ Inc.’s Food City stores, which cater mostly to Hispanic customers and whose staff was about 75 percent Hispanic. They alleged that they were paid on a lower pay scale than the mostly white employees at Bashas’ Inc.’s A.J. Fine Foods and Bashas’ stores. According to the plaintiffs, Bashas’ Inc.’s president personally set the pay scale each year, and an experienced Food City store clerk was allegedly paid $0.82 per hour less than a comparable Bashas’ store clerk in 1999—amounting to a loss of about $1,640 per year for a full-time employee. Under the agreement, Bashas’ Inc. will pay $6.5 million into a settlement fund, with about $1.62 million earmarked for attorney’s fees. The settlement also includes a $400,000 administrative fund to locate as many class members as possible because about 90 percent of the plaintiffs no longer work at Bashas’ Inc. and those who left may have moved to other countries. A fairness hearing is slated for April 2015. See Law360, October 22, 2014.