Foothill Ranch-based Wet Seal Inc. has agreed to a $7.5 million settlement to end an employment discrimination case that claims the retailer denied promotions, denied pay increases or terminated managers from its stores based on the color of their skin. The lawsuit was filed last summer by three managers of Wet Seal stores in Pennsylvania.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) determined late last year that Wet Seal executives had openly promoted a white-only brand image for their stores. They referred to it as the "Armani look" and claimed it was imperative to the success of their brand. Needless to say, this resulted in discrimination based on race for those who did not fit the Armani white skin, blonde hair and blue eyes look that executives were after.