Founders Brewing Company settled the racial discrimination lawsuit against it this week.
Tracy Evans, a former employee at Founders’ Detroit taproom, first filed the lawsuit back in 2018. Evans alleges that several racist incidents happened while he worked there and upper management did nothing to put an end to it.
The lawsuit gained local and national attention after a leaked transcript of a deposition surfaced. In the transcript, a general manager at Founders, Dominic Ryan, claimed he did not know Evans is black.
The company has since closed the Detroit taproom indefinitely and pulled itself out of a major craft beer festival, according to Crane's Detroit Business Journal.
Founders released a statement that says it abhors any discriminatory practices or language, and it says beer should bring people together, not divide.
The company says it won’t release any details of the settlement agreement.
Evans released a statement saying that he wants, “the world to know the power we have when we step forward and make ourselves heard.”
You can read the full statements from Founders and Evans respectively below.
Founders Statement: We are pleased to settle this case and focus on the future. 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. Most importantly, 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.
Significantly, we are committed to moving the cause of diversity and inclusion forward for Founders. We want every employee to feel valued, respected and safe. We abhor discriminatory action of any type and believe that beer should bring people together and not divide.
Tracy Evans statement: I am not going to say too much here but I want the world to know the power we have when we step forward and make ourselves heard. Upon hearing us, businesses also have the power to make changes or not. I don't know what happens from here within the doors of 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 Dave and Mike have planned for the future, but I know that that "seeing color" and valuing people for who they are, and their collection of experiences is the mission. Learning from our mistakes is also part of the mission. Founders as a whole made some bad choices. I, as an individual, made some mistakes but on this day we look to move forward. When someone offers to change, as humans we have a few choices and I have made the choice to see what Founders does with the path that they are about to take. To those that were affected by all of this within Founders and had nothing to do with this, I apologize. To the few of those that were affected by this and you are a part of the problem, I hope you listen to what your company is about to start saying. Craft beer is about coming together and celebrating our differences and no dollar amount should make a company want to forget that. A company is nothing without its workers and you deserve to be valued as such and there should be a clear line of what those goals are. As there are still people working for Founders that I still love very dearly, I hope for nothing but the best for Founders in the future. I will also be moving on and continuing this fight around the world as the issues that I experienced at Founders are not just a Founders issue, they happen everywhere and I vow to continue to be a vessel to help both employers and employees become better at acknowledging, understanding and dealing with them.
Love you all, thanks for the support and let's continue to stand up for what's right.
Founders has not yet announced any specific plans to rebuild relationships with its employees or the community at large.