Texaco Will Pay Historic Settlement

  • Share
  • Read Later
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Texaco agreed to pay $140 million in one of the largest employee race-discrimination lawsuits to date. The two-year-old lawsuit had dominated headlines for the past two weeks, and prompted calls by Jesse Jackson for a boycott of the firm, after the release of a secret recording of a meeting in which Texaco executives discussed destroying company documents relevant to the case and ridiculed black employees as "black jelly beans." Under the settlement, Texaco will pay 1,500 present and former black employees who brought suit $115 million in cash, will provide $26.1 million in pay raises over five years for black employees and will pay $35 million for sensitivity and diversity training programs. The oil giant also agreed to subject itself to a review by an "Equity and Tolerance Task Force" that will attempt to identify and eliminate racial bias among Texaco workers. "With this litigation behind us, we can now move forward on our broader, urgent mission to make Texaco a model of workplace opportunity for all men and women," Peter I. Bijur, Texaco's chairman and chief executive, said in a statement. The lawsuit, filed in 1994, sought as much as $520 million on behalf of blacks who claimed that a "good old boy" network at Texaco reserved the best promotions and biggest raises for whites. Just such an atmosphere characterized the tone of the meeting caught on the tape-recording. As executives bemoaned the burden of treating blacks (and Jews) as equals, and talked about destroying the documents that would prove that the employees were right, they could almost have been writing the script for today's settlement. Ironically, as often happens when a company mismanages its affairs then acts to put the damage behind it, Texaco's stock rose on the news, gaining $2.75 to close at $101.12 1/2 for the day.