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    Kash n' Karry to Pay Bias Settlement in Part With Coupons

    TAMPA, Fla. -- Plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit against Kash n' Karry -- which accused the chain of paying women less than men who did similar work -- will be offered a share in a $3.1 million settlement with the chain, according to an article in the St. Petersburg Times.

    TAMPA, Fla. -- Plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit against Kash n' Karry -- which accused the chain of paying women less than men who did similar work -- will be offered a share in a $3.1 million settlement with the chain, according to an article in the St. Petersburg Times.

    However, $500,000 of the class action settlement will come in the form of discount coupons and gift certificates redeemable only at Kash n' Karry.

    The plaintiffs' lawyer, David Linesch of Palm Harbor, said substituting coupons for at least part of the cash in a class action settlement is gaining popularity.

    "It's a way for the company to give people a benefit, but it's easier for the company to accomplish," he said.

    Shelley Broader, the grocery chain's recently appointed president and c.e.o., said in a statement, "Our associates are the key to Kash n' Karry becoming the supermarket of choice for Florida. Rather than engaging in costly and protracted litigation, we used this opportunity to strengthen our existing policies and move forward."

    Kash n' Karry, a division of Brussels, Belgium-based Delhaize Group, has 137 stores in Florida.

    The company did not agree to any wrongdoing in signing the settlement but did agree to make certain changes to its personnel and human resources policies.

    As part of the settlement, Kash n' Karry will pay attorney fees of $350,000, as well as administrative and monitoring fees totaling $600,000.

    Janice Perry was lead plaintiff in the gender discrimination lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Tampa in September 2001. Perry earned $36,000 annually as assistant manager at a Kash n' Karry store in Palm Harbor. She resigned before filing the suit.

    Three other females in managerial positions at Kash n' Karry joined Perry in the original suit; 10 more employees joined soon after. They claimed they were making $1,500 to $4,000 less per year than men doing the same work.

    Perry will receive $50,000 under terms of the settlement, and Christine LaPoint, another plaintiff, will receive $25,000. The rest of the named plaintiffs will receive $15,000 each.

    A pool of $1.9 million -- including the $500,000 in the form of discount coupons and gift certificates -- will be distributed among women who worked at Kash n' Karry since June 10, 1999, and completed the 90-day probationary period. Awards will be based on the number of weeks worked.

    Class members also can opt out of the settlement and sue the chain individually.

    The company said eligible claimants should receive information about how to go about receiving a share in the settlement within 45 days.

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