Menards ends discrimination claim for $1 million

EAU CLAIRE (AP) -- The Menards home improvement chain has agreed to settle a race discrimination case for $1 million.

A Chicago arbitrator recently approved the settlement which compensates hundreds of managers and assistant managers who say they were passed over for promotions because of their race. About 700 employees at Menards Midwestern stores can begin filing claims for their share of the settlement Feb. 23.

The plaintiffs' attorney Jeffrey Taren says letters will be sent to employees affected by the settlement. Menards spokesman Jeff Abbott says the company has denied any wrongdoing, but chose to settle because it's a "wise business decision."

The case began in 2004 when three former Menards employees filed a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.