On November 12, 2003, an individual employee, filed a handwritten, pro se complaint in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California alleging thaf she was discriminated against by her employer, defendant Eastman Kodak Company on account of her race, African American.
On March 10, 2004 the case was transferred to the United States District Court for the Western District of New York and on April 28, 2004, based on the parties' prior consent to jurisdiction by a U.S. Magistrate, the case was assigned to U.S. Magistrate Jonathan W. Feldman.
On July 30, 2004, plaintiffs filed a First Amended Complaint asserting claims on behalf of the following named plaintiffs: Employees Committed for Justice ("ECJ"), an organization of past and current African American employees of defendant Kodak and eleven individuals.
On March 1, 2006, plaintiffs filed a Third Amended Complaint on behalf of a class of all past, current and future African American employees of Kodak. Plaintiffs claimed that Kodak "engaged in an ongoing pattern and practice of discrimination against its African American employees." Specifically, plaintiffs allege (i) discrimination in compensation, (ii) discrimination in promotions, (iii) discrimination in wage classifications and job assignments, (iv) harassment/hostile work environment, and (v) retaliation. Plaintiffs asserted three causes of action against defendant, including claims for violations of (1) Title VII of The Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., (2) The Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. § 1981, and (3) The New York Human Rights Law, 15 N.Y. Executive Law §§ 291 et seq. See id. at ¶¶ 174-187. Plaintiffs sought class-wide injunctive relief, compensatory damages and punitive damages.
On March 29, 2007, the court (Mag. Judge Feldman) granted summary judgment against three individual named plaintiffs who had signed releases.
On June 2, 2009 the parties reached a settlement agreement on behalf of a class of individuals composed of all African Americans employed by Kodak from January 1, 1999 through May 18, 2006. The settlement created a settlement fund of $21,376,500 with $9,655,500 to be distributed as monetary damages awarded to individual class members.
Additionally, the settlement required Kodak to engage in a continued commitment to non-discrimination and retaliation, to employ an Industrial Psychologist to enforce and evaluate policies regarding discrimination, a new monitoring process, employee and supervisor EOE and diversity training and new system of reporting incidents of discrimination.
On June 4, 2009, the court (Mag. Judge Jonathan W. Feldman) granted preliminary approval of the settlement and on September 3, 2010, Final Approval was entered.Denise Heberle - 10/07/2010