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Government accuses Bass Pro of discrimination

Bass Pro Outdoor World rejected thousands of qualified black and Hispanic job applicants and retaliated against employees who believed its practices were discriminatory, the federal government alleges in a suit filed Wednesday in Houston.

The suit stems from a complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by a white manager at the Bass Pro Outdoor World store in Katy, Texas, who alleged that she was fired when she complained to her boss about mistreatment of black job applicants and employees, the Houston Chronicle newspaper reported.

The subsequent investigation led federal officials to believe that the alleged practice of failing to hire members of minority groups for hourly or salaried positions was a nationwide pattern in Bass Pro's 55 stores.

The agency launched an inquiry in 2007 against the Springfield, Mo.-based sporting goods and apparel company that led to the class-action lawsuit filed Wednesday in federal court in Houston.

Larry L. Whiteley, communications manager for Bass Pro, said the company never comments on ongoing litigation.

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