Created in partnership with the Helpdesk on Business & Human Rights


Improving Promotion Processes to Prevent Racial Discrimination

If you have questions, feedback or you're looking for further help in protecting human rights, please contact us at

In 2005, a successful class-action discrimination lawsuit was launched in the US against the French food services and facility management company Sodexo. The 10 plaintiffs (representing over 3,000 colleagues) stated that the company had been promoting white colleagues more frequently and faster than African American colleagues, causing them to lose money and opportunities due to racial bias. The trial found that the company-wide promotion process was uncontrolled and subjective, and therefore open to abuse and racial bias. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Sodexo committed to making monetary payments to those who filed the lawsuit, including legal fees, for a total amount of up to US$80 million.

Following this lawsuit, Sodexo has updated its internal hiring and career development processes so that promotions and other career-related decisions are made in an objective, structured fashion. Sodexo now has a range of policies, programmes and training sessions in place to prevent racism within its business and supply chain, including a supplier diversity programme.

  • Cellnex Telecom

    Grassroots diversity for a more equal future

    Related Issues:


    Business Sectors:


    Gender Inclusion in the Financial Industry

    Due Diligence Stages:


    Business Sectors: