New Racial Bias Suit Filed Against Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola Co., fresh from settling a bitter 14-month racial discrimination lawsuit with black workers, vowed to investigate and defend itself against accusations of racial bias contained in a new $1.5-billion suit. The No. 1 soft drinks company was slapped with a new suit Wednesday, the day the beverage giant announced a tentative settlement of a lawsuit filed by a small group of former and current black employees. The new suit was filed in a Georgia court on behalf of four black women, all former Coca-Cola employees. Their lawyers, including Johnnie Cochran, who successfully defended O.J. Simpson in his murder trial, accused Coca-Cola of maintaining racially biased hiring practices and a hostile work environment for blacks. A 1999 lawsuit, which was tentatively settled for an undisclosed amount of money late Wednesday, had accused Coca-Cola of discriminating against blacks in pay, promotions and performance reviews. Coke has consistently denied the accusations. Coca-Cola stock closed up $2.88 at $55.88 on the New York Stock Exchange.