Founders Brewing Co reaches settlement in discrimination lawsuit with ex-employee

A settlement has been reached in the lawsuit against Founders Brewing Co. by former employee Tracy Evans claiming the business had a racist environment. 

Per the agreement, terms of the settlement will not be disclosed but both sides released statements about the settlement Thursday afternoon.

Evans had said he was consistently written up for being a few minutes late while his white co-workers were not, and that racist comments by white coworkers were not addressed or disciplined. The suit added the company had electronically named its printers "white guy printer" and "black guy printer." 

Evans also alleged he was denied a promotion due to his race. Two of his white counterparts, that he trained, were promoted despite both having behavioral records with the company. 

He said in a statement following the settlement that a company is nothing without its workers and that all should be valued, adding he hopes noting but the best for Founders in the future.

"I want the world to know the power we have when we step forward and make ourselves heard," Evans said. "Upon hearing us, businesses also have the power to make changes or not. I don't know what happens from here within the doors at Founders Brewing Co. I do know this; we have legal resolution and we have started looking at how ALL of this is affecting human lives. 

"I don't know what (co-founders) Dave (Engbers) or Mike (Steven) have planned for the future but I know that "seeing color" and valuing people for who they are and their collection of experiences is the mission. Learning from our mistakes is also the mission."

During the past two weeks as news leaked of the lawsuit and allegations, Founders closed its taproom in Detroit "until further notice." Many bars downtown stopped serving its products or sold it at reduced cost to burn off inventory.


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The Founders statement on the settlement said that the company is committed to moving the cause of diversity and inclusion forward.

"Through recent discussions with Tracy we listened, engaged in self-discovery, and reached common ground to make amends. We agreed that nobody be viewed at fault here. 

"This serves as an opportunity to place our full attention on the work we now have to do, as a company of more than 600 dedicated team members, to rebuild our relationships."

For the full statement on the agreement see below.