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EEOC Hits Sears With Discrimination Suit

Sep 7, 2004 | BenefitsNext Sears Roebuck & Co. reportedly fired the manager of one of its New Jersey stores for violating the company's ethics policy. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission contends the termination amounted to racial discrimination.

It will be up to the U.S. District Court in Camden, New Jersey, to sort things out, because that's where the EEOC filed suit against Sears last week.

The EEOC claims the department store chain discriminated against the manager, who is black, because it did not fire white managers who committed similar ethics violations.

In firing Edwin Broadard, who managed the Sears store in Maple Shade, New Jersey, Sears said he had failed to limit mechanical repairs to only certified technicians and failed to follow proper procedures for providing a free mechanical service to customers, according to the EEOC lawsuit.

The suit claims that white employees who engaged in the same or similar conduct received only warnings.

A Sears spokesman, Chris Brathwaite, told the Associated Press that Broadard's termination "had absolutely nothing to do with his race." Rather, he said, Broadard was fired for "repeated violations of company policy," though he declined to be more specific.

Brathwaite added that Sears has strict policies against discrimination and found after its own investigation that Broadard's termination did not violate those policies. The company plans to defend itself against the suit, he said.

The EEOC wants Sears to take several steps to resolve the matter, including giving Broadard back pay.

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