Just as the outdoor retail giant began to move into its new home at the Pyramid, news broke of a federal lawsuit filed by the Employment Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Bass Pro Shops for allegedly discriminating against qualified African American and Hispanic job applicants since 2005.
The EEOC lawsuit alleges that minority job applicants were routinely denied positions at Bass Pro stores in Texas, Louisiana, Indiana and Alabama and that managers of stores made racist comments about the discriminatory hiring practices. The EEOC also alleged that the Bass Pro destroyed documents relating to discrimination complaints.
According to the lawsuit, the general manager of one Houston Bass Pro Shop allegedly told the human resources manager that "it was getting a little dark in here, you need to hire some white people."
Bass Pro denies the allegations: “The EEOC’s allegations are contrary to our profound respect for and commitment to our team of experienced and knowledgeable associates, and we are determined to prove them wrong. Respect for our associates and our customers is central to the mission of our company, and it has been a key contributor to our success," said Mike Rowland, Bass Pro Shop's vice president of human resources.
In a prepared statement, Bass Pro claimed that discrimination complaints are taken very seriously by the company and pledged commitment to compliance with laws against employment discrimination and retaliation.