Posted On: July 18, 2009 by Peter M. LaSorsa

Kodak Settles Racial Discrimination Lawsuit for $21 Million

Eastman Kodak will pay more than $21 million to settle a pair of racial discrimination lawsuits filed by current and former African-American employees. The lawsuits were filed in 2004 and 2007 by an African-American group of Kodak workers accusing Kodak of discriminating against African-American workers when it came to job hiring, pay and promotions.

An employer may not terminate an employee, retaliate, or take other adverse job action because of race or color. Work rules must be applied uniformly to all employees, regardless of color or race. Policies that have a disproportionately adverse impact on minorities are strictly prohibited.

Kodak released the following statement:

PLAINTIFFS AND EASTMAN KODAK COMPANY ANNOUNCE SETTLEMENT OF RACE DISCRIMINATION CLASS ACTION

Eastman Kodak Company and Employees Committed for Justice, an organization of African American current and former employees of Kodak, jointly announce that they have reached an agreement to settle their pending litigation. The settlement is subject to approval by the Court. The case, Davis, et al. v. Eastman Kodak Company, Civil Action No. 6:04-cv-06098, was filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York on July 30, 2004, and originates from complaints of racial discrimination filed with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the EEOC) in the late 1990’s. The settlement also resolves claims made in a related case, Alston, et al. v. Eastman Kodak Company, Civil Action No. 07-cv-6512, which is also pending in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York.

In achieving this settlement, all parties have agreed to completely resolve the issues between them and to dismiss all pending legal actions. The parties have recognized that the settlement does not suggest any wrongdoing on the part of Kodak.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Kodak will establish a settlement fund of $21.4 million that will be used for payments to the plaintiffs and class members, as well as attorneys’ fees, litigation costs, and claims administration costs. Kodak, consistent with its commitment to continuous improvement of its highly regarded diversity and inclusion practices, has also agreed to conduct an examination of its policies relating to certain employment practices and to engage outside experts who will make recommendations for improvement.
Kodak, Employees Committed for Justice and the other named plaintiffs believe that this settlement represents a resolution of mutual interest. In arriving at the settlement, the parties took into account the risk of further litigation, including the potential for significant delay as well as the potential for further lengthy and expensive legal proceedings.

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