Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Family Dollar agreed to pay $45 million to a class of female store managers who sued the company claiming they had been paid less than male store managers. Earlier this week, a federal court approved the class action settlement. The pay discrimination claims arose under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act as well as the Equal Pay Act.
In 2002, nearly 50 female Family Dollar store managers filed charges of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). These charges alleged that the company had paid them less than similarly situated male store managers.
Plaintiffs then filed their lawsuit in federal court where it was “vigorously litigated” over the next ten years. Among the issues contested were whether the class action could proceed in light of the Supreme Court’s watershed ruling on class action issues in the Walmart v. Dukes case in 2011.
Eventually, the parties reached a settlement agreement in 2017 and the court held a fairness hearing after which it decided to approve the settlement on March 14, 2018.
Under the settlement terms, the class of female Family Dollar store managers will receive a total of $45 million dollars. The money will be distributed among the class members through the court-appointed settlement administrator. The attorneys for the class will receive 1/3 of this amount ($15 million) as well as approximately $1 million in litigation expenses.
In addition, Family Dollar is required to, among other things, review its compensation practices related to store managers and to consult with labor economists in doing so.