The racial discrimination lawsuit between Founders Brewing Company and former employee Tracy Evans has been dismissed after the two parties reached a settlement on Thursday afternoon.
Filed in August 2018, the lawsuit alleged that Evans, a former manager at the brewery’s Detroit and Grand Rapids locations, was fired after preparing a formal complaint regarding racist behavior he experienced while working for the company.
Founders admitted some of these racist behaviors, namely that employees had used the “n” word around Evans on multiple occasions, but denied his other allegations, including that he was terminated in retaliation for filing an official complaint with the company’s human resources department.
The settlement was announced after a leaked court deposition between Evans’ lawyer, Jack Schulz, and Founders manager Dominic Ryan, sparked public outrage. It also led to the temporary closing of Founders’ Detroit tap room, bar, retail, and consumer boycotts of the brand, and the resignation of Founders’ former director of diversity and inclusion Graci Harkema.
The details of the agreement have not been disclosed, but the brewery’s founders, Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers, released the following statement via the company’s website:
“Through recent discussion 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.”
The Founders’ website also included the following statement from Evans:
“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 ‘seeing color’ and valuing people for who they are, and their collection of experiences is the mission.”