The Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) recently announced that it reached a settlement with federal contractor Parson Brinckerhoff (“Parsons”) regarding claims of hiring discrimination based on race and ethnicity.

During a scheduled compliance review, OFCCP determined that Parsons engaged in hiring discrimination between 2010 and 2012 that affected 247 Hispanic, African-American, Asian-American, Native American and mixed race job applicants for assistant engineer positions at the company’s New York headquarters.  The agency found that Parsons did not follow its written hiring policies and failed to use a consistent selection process for screening, interviewing and selecting assistant engineers.  Under the terms of the settlement, Parsons will pay $188,043 in back wages and interest to the affected job seekers and will offer assistant engineer positions and retroactive seniority to at least four class members as positions become available.  Parsons will also revise its selection policies and procedures to ensure future compliance.

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 hiring that have an adverse impact on protected classes.  Contractors should regularly audit their recruiting and hiring processes and job requirements to assess whether they have a disparate impact and, if so, either eliminate or modify the test or requirement or confirm that it has properly been validated.

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