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Wet Seal to Pay $7.5 Million in Discrimination Case

Clothing retailer Wet Seal has agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle the class action discrimination lawsuit filed against them that stemmed from claims brought by three African-American employees who accused the store of firing them because they "didn't fit the store's image."

By// Mariah Craddick

Wet Seal has agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle a class action discrimination lawsuit filed against them stemming from claims brought by three African-American employees who accused the store of firing them because they “didn’t fit the store’s image.” According to the Denver Post, at least $5.58 million of the damages will go to current and former African-American managers.

The suit, filed by Nicole Cogdell, Kai Hawkins and Myriam Saint-Hilaire, claimed that former Wet Seal executives denied equal pay and promotion opportunities or terminated African-American store managers nationwide.

“Being targeted for termination from a job I loved because of my race was a nightmare,” Cogdell said in a statement issued through the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. “It was important for me to be a force for change, but I could not have done it without the support of other employees who spoke out against discrimination. Wet Seal has now committed to strong, fair policies because we took a stand. I hope these changes will create opportunities for all deserving employees, regardless of their race.”

According to Clutch Magazine, the settlement agreement outlines a series of different initiatives to ensure diversity. The settlement still has to be approved in federal court.