Menards settles race discrimination case brought by black employees

700 black employees alleged Menards discriminated against them.
700 black employees alleged Menards discriminated against them.

Menards has agreed to pay about $1 million to black employees in the Midwest who claim they were passed over for promotions because of their race.

Letters will be sent to the 700 former and current Menards employees affected by the ruling, some of whom presumably live in Minnesota. Menards has 22 home improvement stores in the Twin Cities area.

Despite the settlement, Eau Claire-based Menards continues to maintain it did nothing wrong.

"Yes, that is correct, we did no wrong," Menards spokesman Jeff Abbott said in a statement Monday evening.

"It is a wise business decision to settle with the federal government whenever one has an opportunity to do so because to continue is like attempting to wrestle an 850-pound gorilla," Abbott added.

An attorney representing the claimants told the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram that the allegations stemmed from Menards denying promotions to black employees and taking longer to promote them than was the case with non-African-Americans.

After years of litigation, an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association granted the settlement late last month.

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