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Wet Seal to pay $7.5 million in discrimination lawsuit


Philadelphia -- Wet Seal Inc. agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle a federal racial discrimination lawsuit that accused retailer of firing black employees because they didn’t fit the retailer’s “brand image.”

The NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund represented the plaintiffs in the class-action effort. The lawsuit alleged that former top Wet Seal executives denied equal pay and promotion opportunities to black store managers or removed them outright, replacing them with white employees.

In a statement, Wet Seal CEO John D. Goodman, who took the reins of the chain in January, said that the company appreciates the insights gained in the lawsuit and is committed to nondiscriminatory employment practices.

“From the moment I became CEO of Wet Seal in January, I made clear that we value a diverse work force and believe that a dynamic and representative employee base allows us to best serve all our customers,” Goodman stated. “We are pleased to put this matter behind us.”

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