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 OAKLAND, Calif., Nov. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Albertson's, Inc., the nation's sixth largest operator of retail food-drug stores, and the Oakland, Calif., law firm of Saperstein, Mayeda & Goldstein, announced today a $29.5 million, voluntary settlement of a California class action employment discrimination lawsuit. This lawsuit, Babbitt v. Albertson's, Inc., was filed in May 1992 as a class action in federal court in California, seeking modified employment practices as well as back pay and other monetary damages for alleged discriminatory practices against female and Hispanic employees in the company's California retail operations. The settlement is subject to final court approval.
 The monetary settlement consists of amounts for continuing and enhancing the company's current training programs and for monitoring its employment practices. The settlement also provides financial incentives to Albertson's for achieving certain employment goals, and provides for alleged damages to the settlement class and for attorneys fees.
 Saperstein, Mayeda & Goldstein has also sued several other grocery store chains in California, including Lucky Stores, Safeway and Save Mart. Although none of these cases has yet concluded, a portion of the Lucky case was decided by a federal judge last year, resulting in a backpay determination of approximately $95 million against the Northern California division of Lucky Stores. The court's ruling did not include measurement of claims against Lucky Stores for compensatory damages, front pay, punitive damages, or attorneys fees -- all of which remain pending at this time.
 The Albertson's settlement covers over 20,000 female and Hispanic current and former employees at the company's 144 stores in California. The lawsuit focused on Albertson's past employment practices in effect prior to 1991, some of which were covered by union contracts. As a result, the United Food & Commercial Workers Union will be asked to review the settlement.
 Although Albertson's vigorously defended its equal employment opportunity policies throughout the lawsuit and denies any violation of civil rights laws, the company chose to settle the case at an early stage in order to save substantial time and litigation costs and concentrate on its business of operating retail food-drug stores.
 Within the last two years, Saperstein, Mayeda & Goldstein recovered $24 million in a sex discrimination class action against State Farm Insurance Companies and $132 million in a race discrimination class action against Shoney's Inc., a nationwide restaurant company.
 Mari Mayeda, lead counsel for plaintiffs, said they were "willing to settle with Albertston's early in the litigation because the company had already shown that it had taken significant steps to consider and promote women and minorities to management positions." A spokesperson for Albertson's stated that "we have always been committed to equal employment opportunity" and "this settlement will enable our company to continue to build on the quality of our work force."
 Albertson's, Inc. is the sixth largest operator of retail food/drug stores in the United States. As of Oct. 28, 1993, the company operated 655 stores in 19 western, midwestern and southern states.
 -0- 11/22/93
 /CONTACT: Saundra Stamps Green of Saperstein, Mayeda & Goldstein, 510-763-9800, or Media Relations, Albertson's Inc., 208-385-6392/

CO: Albertsons, Inc. ST: California IN: REA SU:

IH-KD -- DC010 -- 4637 11/22/93 12:43 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 22, 1993

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