The Clippers have a new owner, and Donald Sterling has finally received his comeuppance. In addition to losing his franchise, Sterling has been banned from the NBA for life and ordered to pay a $2.5 million fine.

But the sports world is late to the party. It’s been years since Sterling was forced to settle two lawsuits alleging housing discrimination, one in 2005, another in 2009. And the City of Santa Monica sued him successfully in 2001 on charges that he harassed and threatened to evict eight tenants living in three rent-controlled buildings. Their crime? Having potted plants on their balconies.

Discrimination in the everyday world and in the workplace has long been outlawed – and punished.

A few of the well-known companies forced to fork out hefty millions to settle discrimination lawsuits are General Electric, Abercrombie and Fitch, Denny’s Restaurants and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

  • In 1994, Denny’s restaurants settled a suit for allegedly discriminating against black diners to the tune of $54.4 million.
  • In 2004, Abercrombie and Fitch paid $50 million in 2004 to settle a lawsuit for maintaining recruiting and hiring practices that excluded minorities and women.
  • In 2009, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. settled for $17.5 million in a class-action lawsuit that accused the company of not hiring black truck drivers.
  • In 2010, GE settled a suit filed by 57 black laborers for an undisclosed amount.

The sports world has been slower to see the light.  It is refreshing to see the new commissioner, Adam Silver, bring the NBA more in line with modern-day tolerances for discrimination in the workplace.

Does your company have a policy against discrimination and harassment? And are you following it? If you have questions or concerns, contact Johnson Employment Law for guidance. 949-238-8044