As reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the settlement of a class-action lawsuit was approved by a federal judge on Friday, wherein Covelli Enterprises, a major Panera Bread franchisee, allegedly denied promotions to African-American employees.
Guy Vines, of Castle Shannon, the driving force behind the settlement, claimed that, rather than promoting black employees to cashier jobs, the company kept them on kitchen duty.
Terms of the settlement state that any black employee having worked for the Covelli Panera stores longer than one year and seeking promotion between January 11, 2008 and January 11, 2012 can be paid for alleged lost opportunity. They may also receive 70 cents for each hour they worked after their first year-equivalent to their having received a promotion.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette further stated that under the settlement, Guy Vines receives an additional $10,000., and the plaintiffs’ attorney Cords receives $66,000.
Covelli Enterprises, headquartered in Warren, Ohio, has stated that it did not discriminate, but settled to “avoid costs and distractions. ”
In his 20-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Gary L. Lancaster stated that Covelli’s proposed settlement with between 200 and 300 current and former employees is “fair, within the range of reasonableness, and is not obviously deficient in any way.”