Bashas’ Settles Lawsuit Challenging Discrimination against Hispanic Workers

Davis, Cowell & Bowe and co-counsel The Impact Fund have won a significant settlement from Arizona grocery chain Bashas’ Inc. in Estrada v. Bashas’. Bashas’ will pay its employees and former employees $6.5 million to settle a class action accusing the grocery chain of discriminating against Hispanic workers for almost a decade by paying them less than white employees.

Under the terms of the settlement, Bashas’ will pay $6.5 million to resolve claims that the chain used lower pay scales to pay Hispanic workers at its Food City stores from 1998 to 2007 in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, affecting a class of over 12,000 employees.

The 2002 lawsuit accused Bashas’ of paying employees at its Food City locations less than employees at its Bashas’ or gourmet-focused A.J. Fine Foods locations. The workforce at Food City, which caters to Hispanic customers, was typically about 75 percent Hispanic, whereas employees at Bashas’ and A.J. Fine Foods were mostly white. In 2005, the district court partially certified the class, granting certification of the working conditions claims, but denying certification of the equal pay claims. In 2008, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the denial of certification on the pay claim and sent the case back to the district court.