Bass Pro Shops has been accused by The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of refusing to hire blacks and hispanics, reports Bloomberg News.
The Springfield-Missouri based company has been sued by the commission for their hiring practices since November 2005, Bloomberg reports. Managers in Houston and Lousiana stores made racially insensitive comments, including that hiring blacks didn't fit the corporate profile.
"It's unlawful for employers to deny jobs to applicants based on their race or national origin," P David Lopez, general counsel to The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said in a statement.
Bass Pro Shops is one of the leading retailers of outdoor gear.
The lawsuit has been filed in a Houston federal court, but has been described as major and nationwide. According to the EEOC, Bass Pro also retaliated against employees who spoke out about their unfair hiring practices. They also destroyed internal records related to hiring, reports the Huffington Post.
According to Bloomberg News, the company's officials responded to criticism from employees by loading false allegations, dismissing workers and forcing resignations.
There are 50 Bass Pro stores in 26 different states as well as Canada, according to their website. The store, which was first opened in 1971, has become a staple in the United States- selling everything from guns to camping gear. Bass Pro stores often boast aquariums, restaurants and games on their premises.
The company has also received government subsidies in recent years, reports The Huffington Post. This is because of its potential tourism draw- its promise of economic revitalization in certain communities landed it half a billion dollars in taxpayer money, but in many places the money never showed.
Houston Press aggregated some of the worst quotes from Bass Pro Managers, including an anecdote in which a Houston manager told HR that it was "getting a little dark in here, you need to hire some white people."
Racial discrimination complains with the EEOC have risen from 35,890 in 2010 to 35,579 the previous year, according to Bloomberg News.