Retail chain Cato to settle federal discrimination probe

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Federal officials say a nationwide investigation found that a North Carolina women’s clothing retail chain discriminated against pregnant workers and workers with disabilities.

The Charlotte Observer reports The Cato Corporation has agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s investigation. The agency announced Monday that the Charlotte-based company denied reasonable accommodations for those workers and made some workers take unpaid leave or terminated them because of their disabilities.

The agency says Cato’s practices violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. An EEOC release says Cato has agreed to update its policies to prevent discrimination against those workers.

It says a claims process will allow the settlement to be distributed to workers terminated because of their pregnancy or disability.

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Cato’s website says it has more than 1,000 stores in 32 states.

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Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com

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