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Press Release 11-04-2011

Sears Settles EEOC Suit For Race, Age, Sex Discrimination And Retaliation

Veteran Employee Received a Triple Dose of Discrimination, Federal Agency Charged

OKLAHOMA CITY – Sears, Roebuck & Co., one  of the nation's largest retailers, will pay $100,000 and furnish other relief  to settle a race, sex and age discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by  the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced  today. The EEOC had charged that Sears  subjected an African-American female employee over the age of 40 to race, age and sex discrimination as well as  retaliation for complaining about it.

In its lawsuit  filed in September 2010, the EEOC charged that Mary Johnson, who worked in loss  prevention at several Sears stores in the Oklahoma City area, including its  Sequoyah and Midwest City locations, from 1982 until her termination in March  of 2010, was passed over for promotion to supervisor several times beginning in  2007 in favor of younger, less experienced, white males. According to the agency, Sears retaliated  against Johnson for her initial EEOC discrimination charge in September 2007 by  subjecting her to worsening terms and conditions at work. Sears last passed over Johnson for promotion  in early 2010, just prior to terminating her employment in March 2010 for  complaining about its practices and participating in the EEOC's investigative  process. Sears denies that it  discriminated against Johnson.

Race, sex and age  discrimination and retaliation violate the Age Discrimination in Employment  Act (ADEA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court  for the Western District of Oklahoma (EEOC  v. Sears Roebuck & Company, Case No. 5:10-cv-01068-R) after first attempting to  reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to the  $100,000 payment, Sears agreed to take specified actions designed to prevent  future discrimination, including the posting of anti-discrimination notices to  employees, dissemination of its anti-discrimination policy and providing  anti-discrimination training to employees.  The settlement terms are set forth in a consent decree filed with the  court.

"This decree will  remind Sears and all large retailers to treat their employees equally as  required by law, including older employees, women and people of color, who have  too often been victims of job discrimination," said Barbara Seely, regional  attorney of the EEOC's St. Louis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Oklahoma. "Corporate America must be more vigilant in  guarding against discrimination and retaliation or risk action and exposure by  the EEOC."

According to company information,  Hoffman Estates, Illinois based Sears,  Roebuck and Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Sears Holdings Corporation,  has more than 2,700 Sears-branded and affiliated stores in the United States  and Canada, which includes over 890 full-line and more than 1,350 specialty  stores in the U.S.

The EEOC enforces federal laws  prohibiting employment discrimination.  Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency's web site  at