Cargill Meat Solutions, a distributor of meat products headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, agreed to pay more than $2.2 million to resolve charges of hiring discrimination, the US Department of Labor announced in a press release.
As a federal contractor, Cargill is subject to the regulatory requirements of the DOL's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). The OFCCP mandates that employers doing business with the federal government not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, disability or protected veteran status.
The settlement resulted from a series of reviews conducted by the OFCCP, which revealed that Cargill discriminated against job applicants based on their race, sex and/or ethnicity at its facilities located in Arkansas, Colorado and Illinois. The reviews also uncovered alleged recordkeeping violations.
The DOL subsequently filed a lawsuit against Cargill based on the alleged hiring discrimination violations at the Arkansas facility. The settlement, however, is a resolution of the not only the lawsuit, but allegations that resulted from the reviews of two other facilities located in Colorado and Illinois.
Cargill denies the discrimination claims, saying that the DOL's allegations are unfounded and without merit, and that the settlement was a business decision.
The settlement requires Cargill to:
Pay $2.2 million in back wages and interest to nearly 3,000 applicants who were passed over for jobs at its facilities in Springdale, Arkansas; Fort Morgan, Colorado; and Beardstown, Illinois, between 2005 and 2009;
Extend 354 job offers to the affected applicants as positions become available; and
Self-monitor its hiring practices to ensure it is in compliance with the law, including recordkeeping requirements.
This settlement follows the Bank of America matter, in which the bank was ordered to pay nearly $2.2 million for alleged race-based hiring practices.
US Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez stated that the settlement "...demonstrates the Department of Labor's commitment to ensuring that everybody has a fair and equal shot at competing for good jobs."