Albertsons, the grocery chain, has settled three race, color and national origin discrimination lawsuits for $8.9 million but denied culpability at the same time. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) lawsuits alleged complicity by managers in committing racial and anti-Semitic slurs, epithets and graffiti.

The lawsuits were filed on behalf of 168 employees at an Albertsons distribution center in Aurora, Colo., and the settlement funds will be divided equally, with each employee receiving about $53,000.

The lesson for employers is clear, according to the EEOC’s press release: “EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru said, ‘Employers simply cannot overlook or tolerate this kind of outrageous discrimination and retaliation. The EEOC certainly won’t. We will aggressively pursue employers who violate the laws we enforce. And we’ll insist on substantial and meaningful relief for the victims before settling these cases.’”

Albertsons also agreed to four years of court-supervised monitoring and a training program for its managers.

Employers, you must establish clear guidelines, policies and procedures for enforcement to prevent harassment and discrimination, or you too could be subject to EEOC investigations and legal action. A good place to start your program is with Personnel Concepts’ Race Discrimination Compliance Kit. Get a copy today.