Even though in some of the cases filed, the organization is denying the charges, it still must react to the allegations in order to comply with opinions from both internal and external stakeholders. In all the cases that will be mentioned, management is accused of underpaying, creating hostile work environment, and general discrimination regarding whistle blowing. “Quota Cola” Case The case brought forth in 1999 and settled in 2000, set the stage for a great deal of changes to be made in the Coca-Cola Company.
Four black, dissatisfied employees filed a racial discrimination lawsuit based upon charges of Coca-Cola underpaying them since they were black and creating a hostile work environment. This case ended up becoming a class-action lawsuit that was settled out of court. More commonly known as, “Quota Cola Case”, it opened the flood gates for many more cases of racial discrimination allegations to be brought against Coca-Cola. The settlement for this case, with all additional fees totaled a little over $475 million, which covered all “salaried blacks employed by the organization in the U. S. rom April 22, 1995 to June 14, 2000. ” The settlement and fees not only included the salaried employees, but also donations to such organizations as: NCAA (national effort and Atlanta Coke Bottler), Minority Suppliers and Contractors, Coke pension funds, and other minority activism and non-profits (Things Go Better with Quotas? Case 26: Quota Cola! , 2002). Even though there was a great deal of changes that Coke went through as a result of the previous case, which will be discussed later, there have been two other cases revolving around racial discrimination. Both cases are currently still on-going in the court system.
Coca-Cola Essay Example
Cincinnati Case Another class-action lawsuit was filed in October of 2001 by a group of approximately 1,000 African-Americans that worked for the company since 1995. The allegations of the case accuse Coke of “creating a hostile, intimidating, offensive and abusive workplace environment for its African-American employees. ” Claims stated that supervisors allowed white employees to both physically and mentally abuse minority employees, minorities (including Asians and Native Americans) were disciplined more sternly than white employees, and were denied overtime and promotional opportunities.
A spokeswoman for Coca-Cola made a generic statement in response to the accusations, stating that the organization “does not tolerate discrimination of any kind” and that if there are any allegations, it is taken seriously and dealt with quickly. On the other hand, Kevin Johnson, African-American and former HR manager (appointed after the first lawsuit), had some insights into the organization that was stated in a memorandum regarding the evaluation of race relations at the plant.
He notes that there is a “very apparent need for education in the area of racism, diversity and fundamental training for supervisors and key roles in the organization. ” Additionally, Johnson explained the workers as being “tense” due to “disparate treatment” to minorities. The judge that awarded the case to become a class-action lawsuit informed the plaintiffs that they will have to seek monetary compensation separately (Lovel, 2003). Hawaii Case Most recently, in early 2009, two former Coca-Cola employees filed suit against the company.
Both of Asian ancestry, the plaintiff’s claimed that they had been fired for whistle-blowing on an executive that was pressuring employees for positive reviews, in order to receive increased bonuses. Months after a complaint was filed with the organization’s hotline the two men were terminated from their long-standing positions. There was an attempt of their part to communicate with the vice president of HR, but their efforts were not reciprocated.
The two employees, one a sales center manager and the other HR manager, also claimed that they were discriminated against by Coca-Cola executives , who are white, not only because of their Asian ethnicity, but also since they were over 40 years old (Magin, 2009). Theses three cases prove that, even though there are programs and procedures put in place to avoid diversity issues, especially that of racial discrimination, this is an on-going problem within the Coca-Cola organization.
In response to the allegations and requirements of the “Quota Cola” case’s settlement, Coke took a hard look at their diversity initiatives and made some significant changes. Some of the key features of focus include the following: 1. Become a Fortune 500 Quota Company: Among other Fortune 500 companies, Coke agreed to make a great effort in the hiring and promotional practices of as many non-white employees as possible and to serve as a model for other companies. 2. Responsibilities of the Board of Directors: The Board must be a representation of all racial classes. 3.
An independent Task Force: Coke agreed to abdicate its responsibility to the shareholders by allowing an outside “diversity” body, termed “A Seven Member Task Force”, the purpose of which is to ensure that the right numbers of persons of color are hired, promoted, and contracted with according to the terms of the settlement. This outside body will have unprecedented power to force Coca Cola to hire persons of the right color at all levels of the company, without regard to years of service or other demonstrable qualifications (besides, of course, the color of their skin
Review by Joint Experts: Coca Cola has “voluntarily” agreed to plaintiff demands that the company use mutually agreed-upon “experts” to review the company’s personnel policies and to prepare a minority-oriented “Joint Expert and Recommendation” to the racial task force (see 3, above). 5. An independent Ombudsperson: Coca Cola is required to hire an allegedly “independent” ombudsperson (kind of an unofficial mediator), with approval of the minority special interests.
This supposedly “independent” person will address internal reports of discrimination and retaliation and “independently” monitor the handling of complaints by Coca Cola’s personnel department. 6. Monitoring: The Task Force has the power to force Coca Cola to report the promotion and hiring of blacks and other non-whites within the company. These reports will go to the Board of Directors, among others.