The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has announced a federal contractor has agreed to settle “allegations of systemic discrimination stemming from the company’s applicant screening process” that discriminated against 795 female and minority applicants by denying them the opportunity to advance to the interview stage. Under terms of the agreement, the company will pay $2 million in back wages and interest to the qualified applicants, make at least 50 job offers to members of the original class as positions become available, and undertake extensive self-monitoring measures to ensure all hiring practices fully comply with the law. The DOL news release is available at: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/ofccp/OFCCP20120576.htm.
“Discrimination is preventable when employers have certain processes in place and see to it that they are followed,” OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu stated in the news release. “That’s why it’s so important for federal contractors to implement their affirmative action programs, keep accurate employment records, and commit to ending barriers to fair employment. A proactive strategy is the best way to guarantee that all workers have an equal opportunity to succeed in the workplace. Plus, it’s the law.”
OFCCP investigators determined that the process used by Baldor Electric Co. violated Executive Order 11246 by creating a disparate impact on job seeking women and minority job seekers of African-American, Asian, and Hispanic descent during the hiring process at its Fort Smith, Arkansas facility. The company – which manufactures industrial motors, batteries, and generators – currently holds federal contracts worth more than $18 million with the General Services Administration and the U.S. departments of Veterans Affairs and Justice and received $79 million in contracts from 1997 to 2010.
The OFCCP mission is to enforce “the contractual promise of affirmative action and equal employment opportunity required of those who do business with the Federal government.” OFCCP enforces Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, and these laws require federal contractors and subcontractors to not discriminate in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran. For more information, visit http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/.
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