Friday, September 23, 2011

Bass Pro's corporate profile: Fishy

Rally Girl (an avid angler) submits a guest post about outdoor outfitter Bass Pro Shops:

Racial discrimination has been an ugly feature of corporate America for many years. But for the first time we're hearing a corporation expressly say why it discriminates against minority workers.

Managers at Bass Pro Shops, a leading retailer of outdoor gear, in Texas, Indiana and Louisiana noted that “African American candidates ‘did not fit the corporate profile.’”


That's according to the EEOC, which is suing Bass Pro  for discriminating against minority employees.

Dave Jamison at the Huffington Post reports:

Describing the lawsuit as both "major" and "nationwide," the EEOC alleges that the retailer discriminated against minority applicants, retaliated against employees who spoke out about what they considered unfair hiring practices, and destroyed internal records related to hiring. Certain non-white applicants, the agency claims, were not given jobs because they did not fit the Bass Pro brand.

"Bass Pro has been discriminating in its hiring since at least November 2005," the EEOC said in a release.

Minority job seekers, the agency said, were "routinely denied" positions as cashiers, sales associates, team leaders, supervisors and managers at Bass Pro stores.
What’s more, Bass Pro received a total of $500 million in taxpayer subsidies in exchange for promises of economic revitalization. Bass Pro said it would be an economic development anchor and major tourist destination, according to the Public Accountability Initiative, a research group in Buffalo, N.Y. According to a study produced by PAI,
  • A Mesa, AZ development anchored by a Bass Pro has been described as a "ghost town" and "dead" and spurred the state to pass a ban on retail subsidies.
  • A taxpayer-subsidized Harrisburg, PA Bass Pro is struggling to attract tenants to the mall it anchors, leading to lawsuits, stalled renovations, and increasing stigma. Though the Bass Pro was expected to hire 300-400 employees according to initial projections, it had hired only 101 employees three years after opening.
  • A Bass Pro-anchored mall in Cincinnati, OH, is only 35% leased and has been described as "positively post-apocalyptic" and "pretty much on life support" by visitors.
  • Taxpayers in cities across the country have been left with high levels of debt and fiscal stress as a result of Bass Pro projects.
Now we're wondering which communities meet Bass Pro’s corporate profile and which don’t.