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Sports-gear retailer settles race discrimination, retaliation suit

If you go to the Fanatics website, you'll find a wide array of Milwaukee Brewers jerseys, t-shirts, caps, jackets, autographs and more. The online store stocks similar items for the Bucks, University of Wisconsin Badgers, Packers and virtually all other professional sports franchises and college teams. It's a dream come true for sports gear fans.

It's not an entirely pleasant dream, however. The site's owner, Fanatics Retail Group Fulfillment, LLC, recently agreed to settle a race discrimination, harassment and retaliation lawsuit for more than $320,000.

The suit contains allegations of offensive, race-related comments and slurs. According to the National Law Review, "Human resources officials tasked with overseeing discrimination policies called African-American employees 'baboons.'" Another employee at Fanatics reportedly said, "We don't need any outbreak monkeys here."

After an employee complained to management about the comments, the employee was denied a promised promotion and Fanatics "continued to tolerate a racially hostile work environment," the article in the Law Review stated.

The settlement includes a payment of $322,050, as well as an agreement that Fanatics will revise its discrimination policies and require HR officials, managers, supervisors and all other employees to undergo related training. The company also agreed to establish a hotline to field anonymous employee complaints of discrimination and to report to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission its compliance with the terms of the settlement and details of any future complaints about racial discrimination.

No employee should be subjected to the type of hostile work environment described in this lawsuit. 

This should not go unsaid: if you have endured similar behaviors in your Milwaukee workplace, contact the employment law firm of Alan C. Olson & Associates. We are devoted to stopping discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, religion, pregnancy and sexual orientation.

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