Regional Vice President Targeted African American Employees and Applicants
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced a voluntary pre-litigation settlement of a race discrimination case against Supercuts, Inc., a nationwide chain of hair salons based in Minneapolis, Minn., for $3.5 million and significant remedial relief. The agreement, obtained through EEOC's conciliation process, resolves a charge by former Regional Manager Richard Quick, who claimed that Supercuts Eastern Regional Vice-President terminated him for refusing to go along with a plan to "balance the platform" by reducing the number of African Americans employed with the company. The charge also included claims that Supercuts failed to hire and promote African Americans and terminated them due to their race.
Commenting on the successful settlement, Mr. Quick stated, "I am very pleased with the outcome of EEOC's investigation. People should not be deterred from getting or keeping a job because of the color of their skin. I am proud to have made a difference in this case."
At the time he was fired from Supercuts, Richard Quick had advanced to the level of Regional Manager and was responsible for approximately 76 stores in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Puerto Rico. The agreement reached by Supercuts will provide relief to African Americans meeting certain qualifying criteria who applied to, were terminated from, or denied promotions by Supercuts Stores in its Eastern Region between November 1996 and December 2001. The Eastern Region covers Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, New Jersey, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin and Puerto Rico. Pursuant to the conciliation agreement, in addition to the monetary payout, Supercuts will:
- Pay the costs of a claims administrator to coordinate the claims distribution process;
- Post a quarter-page advertisement in several newspapers in the North East regarding the discrimination claims; and
- Implement several preventive measures including the production of a one-hour training video to be shown to approximately 750 store managers on an annual basis during the three-year duration of the conciliation agreement.
"We commend Supercuts for working cooperatively with us to reach a comprehensive voluntary settlement through EEOC conciliation without the need for protracted litigation," said Federico Costales, Director of the agency's Miami District Office, which negotiated the agreement. "It is our hope that other employers will take notice if they find themselves in a similar situation and follow Supercuts' example of agreeing to voluntarily resolve an EEOC case – which is in the best interests of all parties."
EEOC's Miami Deputy Director Hollis Larkins, who helped lead the investigation that spanned the Eastern Region of the United States, said: "The extensive injunctive relief set in place by the agreement will go a long way towards ensuring that African American applicants and employees of Supercuts will be afforded the freedom to compete and advance in the workplace on a level playing field without artificial barriers."
The EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, which covers discrimination based on national origin, sex (including pregnancy and sexual harassment), race, color, and religion. The EEOC also enforces the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended, which covers discrimination based on age (for persons age 40 and over); the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which prohibits sex-based wage discrimination; the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; and Title I of the Americans With Disabilities Act, which prohibit employment discrimination against qualified people with disabilities. The Legal Unit of the Miami District Office of the EEOC can be reached at 305-530-6001. Further information about the Commission is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.