AFRICAN AMERICAN WORKER OBJECT KODAK's RACIAL SETTLEMENT

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AFRICAN AMERICAN WORKER OBJECT KODAK's RACIAL SETTLEMENT

 user 2009-10-30 at 12:51:12 pm Views: 69
  • #22853
    http://www.claimsjournal.com/news/east/2009/10/27/104843.htm
    AFRICAN AMERICAN WORKER OBJECT KODAK SETTLEMENT
    A
    group of former Eastman Kodak Co. workers objected Friday to a proposed
    $21.4 million deal to settle two lawsuits by black employees who
    maintain they were paid and promoted less than white
    counterparts.”We’ve all been mistreated in some way. … I was just
    hoping the settlement would be better,” said Ora Patterson, 55, who
    worked assembly-line jobs at the photography products company for 32
    years until 2005.While admitting no wrongdoing, Kodak proposed in July
    paying about 3,000 current and past workers settlement amounts ranging
    from $1,000 to $75,000. If approved, the deal would end a 2004
    class-action lawsuit and a similar lawsuit filed by other black workers
    in 2007.U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Feldman heard arguments in favor
    of the deal from Kodak and lawyers for the plaintiffs. He then fielded
    complaints from more than a dozen former employees who said that
    payouts were inadequate, lawyer fees too high and the deal unfairly
    excluded workers who left Kodak before 1999.A second hearing will be
    held Nov. 5 before Feldman issues a written decision on whether to
    accept or reject Kodak’s settlement offer.Kodak was accused of paying
    black employees less than white co-workers, passing them over for
    promotions and maintaining a racially hostile work environment.

    Patterson’s
    33-year-old daughter, Sherlonda, who worked for Kodak for just 11
    months, told the judge that “I’m getting more than my mom is. … It’s
    not right.” While she’s been offered more than $3,000, she said her
    mother’s payout will be $1,000 “for 32 years of dedicated service.””We
    caught a real hard time,” her mother said outside the packed
    courtroom. “I hope Kodak will be better in the future toward the
    younger generation that they don’t go through the pain we did.”Barbara
    Searight, who worked at Kodak for 24 years until 1996, said lawyers
    “who we trusted and had great confidence in … sold us out.””I felt
    very strongly that I was discriminated against, job-wise,” she said.
    “In my case, no matter if you did your best, you were still held back,
    and then the whites would get the promotions.”As part of the deal,
    Kodak promised to enhance its diversity training for supervisors and
    hire an industrial psychologist and two labor statisticians to review
    its pay and promotion policies and recommend improvements.In a
    statement, Kodak said it has become “a nationally recognized leader in
    diversity and inclusion and we remain committed to fairness, dignity
    and respect in the workplace.”