Dillard’s to pay $900,000 to resolve EEOC race discrimination lawsuit

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Company failed to promote African Americans, federal agency charged

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Dillard’s, Inc. will pay $900,000, revise its job posting process and provide other relief to settle an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) lawsuit that claims the department store failed to promote African American employees based on race, the federal agency announced Friday.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Dillard’s, which is headquartered in Little Rock, failed to post supervisory and management positions at its retail locations across the country and failed to promote African American employees into those positions.

EEOC officials say this violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race.

The EEOC filed the lawsuit on September 29 (Civil Action No. 4:20-cv-01152) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Central Division.

EEOC and Dillard’s reached an agreement on terms of a consent decree. Judge Lee P. Rudofsky entered the consent decree on Thursday.

According to a news release sent by the EEOC on Friday, Dillard’s will provide $900,000 in back pay and compensatory damages to individuals denied promotions; develop and post written promotion policies for its stores nationwide; post supervisor and manager vacancies; provide anti-discrimination training; and dedicate an email address and telephone number for employees to address complaints based on failure to promote based on race, as part of the terms of the two-year consent decree that settles the suit. The company will report complaints to the EEOC. Dillard’s will also reach out to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to recruit African American students into its Little Rock Buyer’s Program.

“We are pleased by the cooperativeness and willingness of Dillard’s to revise its job posting process and hope that this will increase the number of qualified African Americans in management positions,” said Faye A. Williams, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Memphis District Office. “We also commend Dillard’s for working with the agency to resolve this lawsuit.”

Delner Franklin-Thomas, the EEOC’s Memphis district director, added, “Failing to promote African Americans due to their race contravenes federal law. We believe this settlement establishes processes and procedures at Dillard’s to ensure that qualified Black employees are not excluded from promotional opportunities in the workplace.”

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