Abercrombie & Fitch has agreed to pay $25 million to settle claims by workers that the New Albany-based retailer forced them to buy its clothing to wear to work and didn't reimburse them.

The settlement covers about a quarter-million current and former Abercrombie and Hollister hourly workers in California, Florida, New York and Massachusetts, according to a filing in California on Jan. 26.

The class-action suits date back to 2013, and the allegations date back to 2009, according to Abercrombie officials.

"At that time, Abercrombie had, and continues to have, clear written policies and associate handbooks in place that stated its employees were not required to purchase or to wear company merchandise, nor were they obligated to make use of their employee discounts," the company said in a statement.

"Abercrombie strongly contests the allegations. However, it believes it is in the best interest of the company and all its stakeholders, including its employees, to settle this matter."

tferan@dispatch.com

@timferan