The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that a Panera Bread franchisee, Covelli Enterprises, has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit that alleges the “company relegated black employees to back-of-the-kitchen work and denied them promotions.”
The settlement will cover between 200 and 300 current or former employees that worked for Covelli’s Panera stores for more than a year from January 11, 2008 to January 11th, 2012. Under the settlement, the employees who allege lost opportunities may receive a payment of 70 cents for each hour worked after the first year. This is to cover wages they would have received if they had been promoted.
U.S. District Chief Judge Gary Lancaster gave the deal his preliminary approval and is expected to hold a hearing for any objections.
Covelli has said it did not discriminate and is only settling to avoid further costs and distractions. Neither the attorney for Covelli nor the attorney for those bringing the suit would comment after the hearing.