According to a lawsuit filed against it, Bass Pro Outdoor World LLC not only failed to hire Hispanic and black workers, but also retaliated against employees who spoke up about the alleged discrimination. The lawsuit was brought against the fishing and hunting gear retailer on Sept. 21 by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The employment discrimination lawsuit charges have been denied by the company, which operates stores in 26 states, including California.

According to the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Houston, the company retaliated against employees who complained about the company’s failure to hire blacks and Hispanics by altering workplace conditions and employees’ privileges. The company also pressured employees to withdraw their complaints and in some cases fired them.

The suit also claims that the company retaliated with methods such as issuing false allegations against those who complained, subjecting them to increased scrutiny and inducing those employees to resign. The company denies that it violated any workers’ rights. It is not known at this time what the company plans to do in defense.

Employment discrimination can happen anywhere, including California. What’s important to remember is that employees have the right to work without the constant fear of being fired just because they have filed a complaint about a hostile workplace. Those who believe they have been the victim of workplace discrimination are often best served by contacting an experienced employment law attorney. The laws pertaining to employment discrimination can be confusing at times. Consulting with a legal professional may be the best way to get a full understanding of the available options and possible courses of action.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, “Bass Pro Shows Companies’ Reprisals Against Workers, U.S. Says,” Stephanie Armour, Oct. 14, 2011