The Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) recently announced that it reached a settlement with Cargill Meat Solutions (“Cargill”) regarding claims of hiring discrimination based on race and gender. 

Through compliance reviews of Cargill facilities in Arkansas, Colorado, and Illinois, OFCCP found that Cargill discriminated against African Americans, Hispanic, Caucasian, and female applicants for production jobs between 2005 and 2009.  Under the terms of the settlement, Cargill agreed to pay $2.2 million in back wages and interest to 2,959 class members.  It also agreed to extend 354 job offers to the class members as positions become available.  Further, Cargill agreed to implement self-monitoring measures and provide personnel training to ensure that the company complies with its obligations under Executive Order 11246.

The settlement highlights the importance of adopting uniform, nondiscriminatory hiring practices subject to internal control and review.  In its compliance audits, OFCCP focuses on tests, job requirements and other potential barriers to hire that have an adverse impact on protected classes.  Contractors should audit their recruiting and hiring processes and job requirements to assess whether they have a disparate impact.  For tests, OFCCP generally anticipates that any testing procedure (which is defined broadly) that has a disparate impact will be validated by the contractor at least every five years.

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