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Press Release 03-25-2008


Class of More Than 10,000 to Receive Monetary Relief; Significant Injunctive Remedies Included

EAST ST. LOUIS,  Ill. – A federal judge here has granted final  approval of a sweeping consent decree resolving a class race discrimination  lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against  Walgreen Co., the Deerfield, Ill.-based  national drug store chain. The decree, one of the largest monetary settlements  in a race case by the EEOC, provides for the payment of over $24 million to a  class of thousands of African American workers and orders comprehensive  injunctive relief designed to improve the company’s promotion and store  assignment practices.

The EEOC filed its suit in March  2007 alleging that Walgreens discriminated against African American retail  management and pharmacy employees in promotion, compensation, and  assignment The decree, entered by U.S.  District Judge G. Patrick Murphy of the Southern District of Illinois, resolves  the EEOC’s litigation and a private class suit filed in June 2005 on behalf of  14 African American current and former Walgreens’ employees (EEOC v. Walgreen Co., S.D. Il. 07-CV-172-GPM and Tucker v. Walgreen Co., S.D.  Il. 05-CV-440-GPM) The two cases were  consolidated in April 2007 Following a  fairness hearing, the court ruled that the consent decree is fair, reasonable,  and adequate.

“The EEOC’s case is a good example  of the Commission’s renewed emphasis on class and systemic litigation and  furthers the agency’s E-RACE Initiative, which is designed to address major  issues of race and color discrimination,” said EEOC General Counsel Ronald S.  Cooper “I commend the work of our  outstanding trial team, which included lawyers from Kansas  City, St. Louis, Miami  and Chicago, as  was appropriate in a case which will provide benefits to a nationwide class.”

The monetary payments will be  shared by approximately 10,000 African American current and former store-level  management employees across the country  The decree also requires Walgreens to retain outside consultants to  review and make recommendations regarding their employment practices, including  standardized, non-discriminatory promotion and store assignment standards,  procedures and promotional benchmarks  Compliance with the decree will be monitored by the EEOC and the  Goldstein, Demchak firm of Oakland,  Calif The Court will retain jurisdiction over the  decree for five years.

Jean P. Kamp, acting regional  attorney for the EEOC’s St. Louis District, said, “The combination of very  substantial monetary relief and far-reaching injunctive provisions make this  decree a model for relief in similar cases  The court complimented the settlement during the final fairness hearing,  and we agree that this is an outstanding result for African American managers  at Walgreens.”

According to its web site,, “Walgreens is the nation’s largest drugstore chain with  fiscal 2007 sales of $53.8 billion. The company operates 6,237 stores in 49  states and Puerto Rico.”

Johnny Tucker, a Walgreens store  manager from Independence, Mo., who helped initiate the suit and was  present at the fairness hearing, said, “I look forward to all of the positive  changes this settlement will bring to the company.”

Tucker and the private class were  represented by Foland, Wickens, Eisfelder, Roper & Hofer, of Kansas City, Mo.; Spriggs  Law Firm, of Tallahassee, Fla.;  and Goldstein, Demchak, Baller, Borgen & Dardarian, of Oakland, CalifThe initial charges of discrimination  filed with the EEOC were investigated by Harold Emde in the agency’s St. Louis  District Office and Samuel James in the Kansas City Area Office.

On Feb. 28, 2007, EEOC Chair Naomi Earp launched the agency E-RACE  Initiative (Eradicating Racism And Colorism from Employment), a national  outreach, education, and enforcement campaign focusing on new and emerging race  and color issues in the 21st century workplace Further information about the E-RACE  Initiative is available on the EEOC’s web site at

The EEOC enforces federal laws  prohibiting employment discrimination  Further information about the EEOC is available at