Coca-Cola lawsuit (re racial discrimination in USA)

In April 1999, a class action lawsuit was filed against the Coca Cola Company by four current and former African-American employees for racial discrimination under the US Civil Rights Act.  The plaintiffs, on behalf of themselves and 2200 similarly situated African-American colleagues, alleged they had suffered discrimination in pay, promotions and performance evaluations.  They provided statistics showing that the median salary for African American employees was about one-third less than that of whites within the company.  The plaintiffs also claimed that “glass ceiling” and “glass wall” policies kept African-Americans from rising to top positions and in particular departments within the company.  Few African-Americans had advanced to senior levels in the company, compared to the significant representation of African-Americans among all salaried employees.  The plaintiffs argued that Coca-Cola failed to prevent and remedy this discrimination.

In 2000, Coca-Cola agreed to a $192 million settlement, the largest settlement ever in a corporate racial discrimination case.  In the settlement agreement, Coca-Cola denied the allegations, but agreed to make sweeping changes to its personnel policies and procedures.  In addition, the settlement gave an outside panel, jointly selected by Coca-Cola and the plaintiffs’ lawyers and approved by the court, limited authority to revise the company’s personnel policy.  This panel, the Task Force, served as a watchdog for five years and was charged with evaluating Coca-Cola’s compliance with the terms of the settlement agreement.  The Task Force issued its final report in December 2006, finding that its “mission has been a success” and that the company had “made significant progress.”

- Judge Is Set to Authorize Bias Settlement With Coke, Greg Winter, New York Times, 30 May 2001

- Coca-Cola Settles Racial Bias Case, Greg Winter, New York Times, 17 Nov 2000

- Coca-Cola in race pay-out, BBC News, 16 Nov 2000

The Coca Cola Company:
- Corporate Responsibility - Diversity

Mehri & Skalet, P.L.L.C. [plaintiffs’ counsel]:
- The Coca Cola Company [summary of case] 

- Coca Cola Task Force Reports, 2002 to 2006

- Adballah et al. v. Coca-Cola - Amended Complaint, 22 Apr 1999

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Lawsuit
18 February 2014

Coca-Cola lawsuit (re racial discrimination in USA)

Author: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

In April 1999, a class action lawsuit was filed against the Coca Cola Company by four current and former African-American employees for racial discrimination under the US Civil Rights Act.  The plaintiffs, on behalf of themselves and 2200 similarly situated African-American colleagues, alleged they had suffered discrimination in pay, promotions and performance evaluations.  They provided statistics showing that the median salary for African American employees was about one-third less than that of whites within the company.  The plaintiffs also claimed that “glass ceiling” and “glass wall” policies kept African-Americans from rising to top positions and in particular departments within the company.  Few African-Americans had advanced to senior levels in the company, compared to the significant representation of African-Americans among all salaried employees.  The plaintiffs argued that Coca-Cola failed to prevent and remedy this discrimination.

 

 

 

In 2000, Coca-Cola agreed to a $192 million settlement, the largest settlement ever in a corporate racial discrimination case.  In the settlement agreement, Coca-Cola denied the allegations, but agreed to make sweeping changes to its personnel policies and procedures.  In addition, the settlement gave an outside panel, jointly selected by Coca-Cola and the plaintiffs’ lawyers and approved by the court, limited authority to revise the company’s personnel policy.  This panel, the Task Force, served as a watchdog for five years and was charged with evaluating Coca-Cola’s compliance with the terms of the settlement agreement.  The Task Force issued its final report in December 2006, finding that its “mission has been a success” and that the company had “made significant progress.”

 

 

- Judge Is Set to Authorize Bias Settlement With Coke, Greg Winter, New York Times, 30 May 2001

- Coca-Cola Settles Racial Bias Case, Greg Winter, New York Times, 17 Nov 2000

- Coca-Cola in race pay-out, BBC News, 16 Nov 2000

 

 

- The Coca Cola Company: Corporate Responsibility - Diversity

- Mehri & Skalet, P.L.L.C. [plaintiffs’ counsel]: The Coca Cola Company [summary of case] 

- Coca Cola Task Force Reports, 2002 to 2006

 

- Adballah et al. v. Coca-Cola - Amended Complaint, 22 Apr 1999

Article
29 October 2008

[PDF] Business & Human Rights Resource Centre launches world’s first online portal profiling human rights lawsuits against companies

Author: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Today the non-profit Business & Human Rights Resource Centre launches a free online portal – the first to bring together and demystify lawsuits from across the world alleging human rights abuses by companies. The portal summarises in non-legal language over 35 cases and the positions of each side, with more cases to be added soon. It also presents special commentaries by experts...Companies in profiled lawsuits include: AngloGold Ashanti, Barclays, BHP Billiton, Biwater, Blackwater, BP, Cambior, Cape PLC, Chevron/Texaco, Chiquita, Coca-Cola, Daimler, Deutsche Bank, Dow/Union Carbide, Drummond, DynCorp, ExxonMobil, Firestone, Ford, Freeport-McMoRan, IBM, Mitsubishi, Nike, Occidental, Rio Tinto, Severstal, Shell, Standard Chartered, Talisman, Trafigura, Total, UBS, Wal-Mart, Yahoo!

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Article
9 April 2004

Diversity encouraged: 50 years after Brown, whites still rule corporate America

Author: Michael Hooper, Topeka Capital-Journal [USA]

A lack of diversity in corporate America stifles decision-making and creates a compliant conduct that is unhealthy for business, a legal expert said Thursday...Wade noted that in 2000, Coca-Cola paid $192.5 million to settle a race discrimination lawsuit that involved hundreds of employees. In 1996, Texaco paid $176 million to settle a race discrimination suit that involved about 1,400 employees.

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Article
26 August 2003

exhibits attached to complaint

[Abdallah et. Al. v. The Coca-Cola Company]

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Article
26 September 2002

Panel rates Coke on diversity [USA]

Author: Scott Leith, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Coca-Cola has been promoting women and minorities at a faster rate than white men, but a court-appointed task force still found that many minority workers believe they are treated less fairly...The report on the workplace climate at Coca-Cola, issued Wednesday, comes nearly two years after the company settled a class-action racial discrimination lawsuit.

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Article
18 April 2002

Black Coca-Cola Workers Still Angry

Author: Ben White, Washington Post

Despite 2000 Legal Settlement, Protesters Say Little Has Changed - Protesters lined Seventh Avenue outside Madison Square Garden today to press criticisms of Coca-Cola Co., which was holding its annual shareholders meeting inside. With labor and environmental activists were dozens of African American Coca-Cola employees who said conditions have not improved at the Atlanta-based company since it agreed in November 2000 to pay $192.5 million to settle a class-action race-discrimination lawsuit and promised to change the way it manages, promotes and treats minority employees.

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Article
1 January 2002

Racial Discrimination and Directorial Duty of Care

Author: Cheryl L. Wade, in University of Pittsburgh Law Review

In 1996, Texaco settled a class action alleging race discrimination for $176 million, and in 2000, Coca-Cola settled race discrimination litigation for $192.5 million...boards and executives breach their fiduciary duty of care owed to shareholders when they fail to investigate and monitor their employees' complaints of racism.

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Article
22 March 2001

Former Labor Secretary To Chair Coca Cola Compliance Taskforce

Author: New Journal & Guide [Norfolk, Virginia]

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Article
16 March 2001

History of justice long for task chief

Author: Henry Unger and Scott Leith, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Ex-labor secretary presiding over Coca-Cola anti-bias panel first influenced the company 28 years ago.

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Article
26 January 2001

After $190 Million Settlement, Coke Rep Speaks to Black Press

Author: BlackPressUSA.com

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