Black & white, or (all) color? Kodak shells out $21.4 million

by Aman Singh Das | July 17, 2009

  • My Vault

Eastman Kodak will be paying $21.4 million to settle a racial discrimination case filed in 2004 by African-American workers who claimed that the company paid and promoted white coworkers more than them.

Here's what an insider whispered to Vault a few months ago about the company's corporate culture:

"The corporate culture is the white, old-boys' network of the 1950's. There are opportunities to be had if you are part of this network, and are in the majority in sex and race (and politics), but if you are not then you are going to have to work hard to gain membership."

The same contact goes on to further talk about promotions at the company.

"Diversity is encouraged and I believe that managers are almost forced to hire candidates that would demonstrate a global pool of employees, however once hired these employees may find themselves unable to gain membership in the 'good ole boys' network."

For now, without admitting to any wrong doing or a discriminatory promotion policy, Kodak is settling out of court. This might be good news for the 3,021 past and current workers who will receive compensation ranging from $1,000 to $75,000 but better news--and more importantly--is that as part of the deal, Kodak is going to enhance its diversity training, hire an industrial psychologist and labor statistician to review its pay and promotion models.

Kodak's executive board boats of a white male dominancy: 32 total members including nine women, with two also African-American. With the photography-maker having announced a loss of $360 million for the first quarter this year, settling out of court was advisably the best option for them.

Final approval for the deal is set in court for September 15.

Filed Under: CSR

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