photo via Flickr courtesy of Genista

In a move reminiscent of Abercrombie & Fiatch’s notorious hiring practices, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a class action suit against Walgreens, alleging widespread discrimination against black managers and pharmacists. According to the Chicago Tribune piece:

Walgreen Co. store manager Johnny Tucker claims it was an open secret among his African-American colleagues that their chances of being assigned to stores in white neighborhoods were slim.

“It was something many of us accepted and tolerated,” said the 21-year Walgreens veteran, who manages a store in Independence, Mo. “But it finally got to the point with me when I could no longer accept it.”

His breaking point came after taking a 90-day leave for stress from managing a store in a tough Kansas City neighborhood where he battled shoplifters.

The suit appears to be a positive sign of change at the EEOC which is taking more seriously (and addressing more quickly) workplace discrimination cases. Check out these fightin’ words from the commission chair.

“You can’t fight discrimination on a charge-by-charge basis,” said Commission Chair Naomi Earp, who said the agency must reduce the time it takes to process and litigate cases. “In the past systemic cases have taken 5 to 10 years. People who lose their jobs can’t wait that long. We want to come in like a strike force.”

A strike force! That is inspiring! The new commission chair is Naomi Earp, the first African-American to lead the commission since the Carter administration. Big up, Naomi.

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