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Coca-Cola and the 1999 Discrimination Lawsuit

            org, in 2000, a major US company made the largest settlement ever in a corporate racial discrimination case. In April 1999, four African-American employees, both current and former, of Coca-Cola filed a lawsuit against the company for racial discrimination. The four employees were representing themselves and 2200 other employees a similar situation. The plaintiffs claimed that they were receiving discrimination in their pay, promotions and performance evaluations because of their race. They gave statistics demonstrating that the middle pay for African American workers was 33% less than that of whites inside of the organization. The offended parties additionally asserted that a "glass ceiling" kept African-Americans from ascending to top positions. Few African-Americans had progressed to senior levels in the organization, contrasted with the critical representation of African-Americans among every salaried worker. The offended parties contended that Coca-Cola neglected to prevent and cure this separation.
             The Coca-Cola Co. agreed today to pay $192.5 million to settle a racial discrimination suit by black workers. The amount includes $113 million in cash, $43.5 million to adjust salaries, $36 million for oversight of the company's employment practices. Coke also paid $20 million in attorneys' fees and planned to donate $50 million to its foundation for community programs. The most interesting part of the settlement, than is sheer size, is that the settlement gives an outside board, delegated by Coke and the offended parties' legal advisors, constrained power to overhaul organization staff strategy, a defeat even hopeful watchers of the case did not anticipate that the settlement would yield. In most settlement talks, organizations oppose surrendering any control, yet, according to the New York Times article on the settlement, Coke authorities say that the board, composed of business and civil rights experts, will help them stay concentrated on the redesign of the company.

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