Friday, June 6, 2014
For those following Ellis v. Costco Wholesale Corporation, the court approved the settlement between the parties. The settlement agreement is available here: http://genderclassactionagainstcostco.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/Exhibit-1.pdf . In Ellis, the plaintiffs alleged that Costco "has maintained a promotion system that discriminated against women in making promotions to Assistant General Manager and General Manager in U.S. warehouses."
The settlement agreement spells out a number of steps Costco will take, including posting certain positions and interviewing all candidates who meet the qualifications for certain jobs (unless there are more than five qualified candidates). Interestingly, the settlement contemplates that Costco employees will now have formal mechanisms for officially registering interest in certain management positions. A candidate can register interest in connection with his or her performance review or six months after. The expression of interest will then be good for a one-year period.
The settlement agreement also allows women who believe they were discriminated against in promotions for certain positions to submit their claim to an arbitrator. Damages for successful claims are capped at limits listed in the settlement agreement.