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Commerce Department sued for alleged discrimination

[JURIST] A group of 13 former and current employees filed a $500 million lawsuit Wednesday against the US Department of Commerce [official website] alleging that the agency discriminated in its hiring and promoting of employees. The suit, filed by 11 black and two white workers claiming to represent all black employees at the agency in the past 10 years, alleges "systemic race discrimination" and subjective hiring practices at the agency. The purported class could include more than 6,000 people. An agency spokesman said he had not seen the complaint, but the agency was committed to a nondiscriminatory employment policy. A similar lawsuit was filed by an employee at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [official website] in 1995, but that suit remains pending. The plaintiffs' attorney in the current case said he hoped to move the case along more quickly. In addition to monetary damages, the suit seeks reforms at the agency overseen by a task force. AP has more.

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