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EEOC Files Suit against Bass Pro for Race Discrimination

Complaint Alleges Bass Pro Refused to Hire Qualified Applicants and Retaliated against Employees Who Opposed its Hiring Practices

On September 21, 2011, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) filed suit in Houston federal court against Bass Pro Outdoor World, LLC (“Bass Pro”), a nationwide retailer in hunting, camping, nature gifts, and outdoor cooking. The EEOC alleges Bass Pro violated Title VII by engaging in a pattern or practice of failing to hire African-American and Hispanic applicants for positions in its retail stores nationwide, and retaliated against employees who opposed the discriminatory practices. According to the complaint, Bass Pro routinely refused to hire qualified African-American and Hispanic applicants for positions such as cashier, sales associate, team leader, supervisor, and manager. The complaint also alleges that managers at Bass Pro stores in the Houston area, Louisiana, and elsewhere made overtly racially derogatory remarks acknowledging the discriminatory hiring practices. The EEOC further claims that Bass Pro unlawfully destroyed or failed to keep documents related to employment applications and internal discrimination complaints, and retaliated against those employees who opposed the company’s hiring practices. The suit seeks a permanent injunction prohibiting Bass Pro from engaging in discrimination and improper record destruction, back pay on behalf of the plaintiffs, compensatory and punitive damages, and an order requiring Bass Pro to hire or reinstate those affected by the Company’s unlawful practices.