Settlement proposed in Big 5 civil rights lawsuit

Big 5 Corp. reached a proposed settlement with a former employee and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, in a civil rights case involving an Oak Harbor store, according to documents filed in federal court.

Under the terms of the settlement, a consent decree has been proposed between the EEOC and Big 5. The claim filed by the former employee, Robert Sanders, will be dismissed pursuant to a settlement agreement, according to court documents.

The resolution was the result of mediation, court documents state. The details of the settlement haven’t been released. An EEOC spokesman said it does not comment on pending litigation.

The EEOC is a federal agency that administers and enforces civil rights laws against workplace discrimination

The EEOC and Sanders filed the lawsuit against Big 5 on July 20, 2017. It claims that Sanders’ supervisors at the Oak Harbor store subjected him to discrimination based on the fact that he is African American and retaliated against him when he opposed the discriminatory hostile work environment.

The complaint alleges that assistant managers threatened to kill Sanders with box cutters and to lynch him; A management trainee told him his “kind” wasn’t allowed in the stock room and that he would end up dead in a river, the complaint states.

In addition, the store manager subjected Sanders to “frequent, offensive and unwelcome race-based conduct,” which included referring to him as “boy” and “Shadow,” according to the complaint.

The managers retaliated against Sanders when he complained about his treatment by denying him breaks, assigning him less desirable work and continuing to call him racist names in front of other employees, the complaint indicates.

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