Posts Tagged ‘federal contractors’

$2.5M to Female Managers at Humana KY HQ in U.S. DOL Settlement of Pay Discrimination Case

Female employees at Humana’s Kentucky headquarters were shortchanged on their pay, and now finally they are getting their due. The settlement in their case was announced by the Labor Department today.

After a routine compliance evaluation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), Humana Inc. has agreed to pay $2.5 million in back wages and interest as part of a conciliation agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor to resolve allegations of pay discrimination against 753 women at the health insurance company’s headquarters in Louisville.

OFCCP asserts that, in 2011-2012, Humana paid women in consulting, project manager, and manager positions less than similarly situated men. OFCCP determined that Humana’s actions violated Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sex. Although not admitting liability, the company will also make pay adjustments and take steps to ensure its pay practices meet legal requirements. Humana, with headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky, is a federal contractor with the U.S. Department of Defense.

“We are pleased that Humana has a commitment to equal employment opportunity and has worked cooperatively with the Department of Labor to resolve this matter,” said OFCCP Regional Director Samuel Maiden, in Atlanta. “Federal contractors and subcontractors must comply with all federal anti-discrimination laws.”

In addition to Executive Order 11246, OFCCP enforces Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. These laws, as amended, make it illegal for contractors and subcontractors doing business with the federal government to discriminate in employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran. In addition, contractors and subcontractors are prohibited from discriminating against applicants or employees because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their compensation or the compensation of others subject to certain limitations. For more information, please call OFCCP’s toll-free helpline at 800-397-6251 or visit

Oracle in Hot Seat With DOL, Which Complains Company Favors White Men in Pay and Hiring

Oracle, a leading technology company that provides services to the federal government, has a systemic practice of paying Caucasian male workers more than their counterparts in the same job title, which led to pay discrimination against female, African American and Asian employees, the Labor Department charged in a new lawsuit filed last week.

The suit filed with the Office of Administration Law Judges also challenges Oracle’s systemic practice of favoring Asian workers in its recruiting and hiring practices for product development and other technical roles, which resulted in hiring discrimination against non-Asian applicants.

Oracle designs, manufactures, and sells software and hardware products, as well as offers services related to its products to the federal government.

The alleged violations supposedly took place at the company’s Redwood Shores headquarters in California.

Oracle has received hundreds of millions in federal government contracts. As a federal contractor, Oracle is prohibited from engaging in employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity or national origin and is required to take affirmative action to ensure that equal employment opportunity is provided to applicants and employees in all aspects of employment. If Oracle fails to provide relief as ordered in the lawsuit, OFCCP requests that all its government contracts be canceled and that it be debarred from entering into future federal contracts.

During the investigation – which began in 2014 – Oracle also refused to comply with the agency’s routine requests for employment data and records, the DOL said.  For example, Oracle refused to provide prior-year compensation data for all employees, complete hiring data for certain business lines, and employee complaints of discrimination.

But now that there is a new administration in town, it’s possible that some of this may be obselete.

At the top of the DOL announcement page is this “Please note:  As of January 20, 2017, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.”


Silicon Valley Tech Company Sued by US DOL For Discriminating Against Asian Americans

A Silicon Valley high tech company didn’t give fair consideration to Asian American job applicants, the U.S. Department of Labor charged in a recent lawsuit.

The lawsuit filed with the department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges alleges that Palantir Technologies, a Palo Alto technology company, discriminated systematically against Asian job applicants in its hiring process and selection procedures.

Palantir provides software and data analysis services under federal contract to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Special Operations Command and the U.S. Department of the Army.

The suit follows a compliance review by the department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, which found that from January 2010 to the present, Palantir violated Executive Order 11246 by:

  • Using a hiring process and selection procedures that discriminated against Asian applicants for software engineering positions on the basis of their race.
  • Maintaining a hiring process in which Asian applicants were routinely eliminated in the resume screen and telephone interview phases despite being as qualified as white applicants.
  • Hiring a majority of applicants from a discriminatory employee referral system. The overwhelming preference for referrals, combined with the contractor’s failure to ensure equal employment opportunity for all applicants without regard to race, resulted in discrimination against Asian applicants.

Read the complaint here.

DOL: Hispanic, African American Employees Were Victims of Discrimination by Md. Contractor

A Maryland company that does demolition and abatement work will have to answer U.S. Department of Labor allegations that it discriminated against Hispanic and African American employees.

In a lawsuit filed with the Office of Administrative Law Judges, the DOL is alleging that Potomac Abatement violated the civil rights of more than 150 Hispanic and African-American workers and allowed harassment of employees based on race and national origin.

The suit follows an investigation by the department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs that found Potomac Abatement, Inc., forced at least 145 Hispanic employees into lower-paying jobs and subjected them to ongoing harassment because of their race or national origin, and discriminated against at least 17 African Americans by terminating them because of their race. The Hispanic and African-American workers were employed as skilled field technicians and unskilled laborers at construction sites in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area in 2011-2012. The complaint alleges that these violations have continued to the present.

The company mistreated its Hispanic employees by denying them basic on-the-job necessities that were provided to other workers; allowed supervisors to illegally harass Hispanic employees, including sexual harassment of Hispanic female workers; and retaliated against Hispanic employees who complained about their treatment. It also alleges a number of other violations of Potomac’s obligations as a federal contractor, including failure to recruit minorities, women, protected veterans, and qualified individuals with disabilities, and failure to maintain required personnel and employment records.

The company has served as a subcontractor on several federal construction contracts and performed work for the Marine Corps, the Smithsonian Institution, Internal Revenue Service, and the U.S. Departments of Labor and Veterans Affairs.

Read DOL’s announcement of the lawsuit and investigative findings here.

Contractors Docked $1M for Not Paying Prevailing Wage to U.S. Senate Cafeteria Workers

Contractors providing services to the Congress have to obey prevailing wage laws just like any other federal contractor. When they violate the law, they should expect to pay a heavy price to set things right.

The latest contractors to learn that lesson are two companies that prepare and serve meals for Capitol Hill lawmakers and their staffs in the U.S. Senate cafeteria.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Restaurant Associates and its subcontractor, Personnel Plus, will pay 674 workers $1,008,302 in back wage for violations of the McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act.

DOL said its investigation revealed that the companies improperly classified workers– paying them for lower-paying jobs than they actually performed–and required employees to work prior to their scheduled starting times without compensation. Paying below the required rates also caused the companies to fail to pay the workers overtime at the proper rates, DOL said.

Investigators found that Restaurant Associates’ failure to pay workers proper overtime and failure to maintain a record of hours employees worked prior to their scheduled shifts also violated the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The SCA applies to every contract valued in excess of $2,500 entered into by the U.S. Government or the District of Columbia, the principal purpose of which is to furnish services in the U.S. using service employees. Contractors and subcontractors performing on covered service contracts must observe minimum wage and safety, health and welfare benefits and maintain certain records.

The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt workers be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus one and one-half times their regular rates of pay for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Employers also must maintain accurate time and payroll records.

Here’s DOL’s Tuesday announcement of the investigation findings and monetary award.


Settlement Closes DOL Case Against Federal Contractor That Kept Blacks From Laborer Jobs

African Americans won’t anymore be denied a fair shot at laborer positions at a major federal contractor.

More than 2,000 African American applicants denied consideration for certain jobs with Norfolk Southern Corp. will share in an award of $492,000, under a settlement of race discrimination allegations brought by the U.S. Department of Labor.

According to the DOL, Maintenance of Way #34 – a business unit in Norfolk Southern’s engineering department – entered into the agreement after Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs determined the company failed to provide equal employment opportunities to 2,086 African Americans who applied for the track laborer and building and bridge laborer positions at the company’s Roanoke facility.

During its scheduled compliance evaluation, OFCCP found that – from Jan. 1, 2010, through Dec. 31, 2011 – Maintenance of Way #34 engaged in hiring practices that discriminated against African-American applicants.

Additionally, the company will ditch its use of the selection procedures in question for the track laborer and building and bridge laborer positions, and review and modify its employment practices including recruitment, screening, interviewing, selection, rejection and hiring in order to comply with Executive Order 11246.

Norfolk Southern Corp. in recent years has had more than $10 million in contracts with the Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of the Navy, U.S. Department of Air Force and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services.

Read more about the settlement agreement in this matter.


DOL Updates Sex Bias Rules for Federal Contractors Under Executive Order 11246

The U.S. Department of Labor caught up with the times yesterday, announcing updated rules against sex discrimination by federal contractors and subcontractors for the first time in 40 years

DOL said it was updated the sex discrimination regulations under Executive Order 11246 to “clarify for federal contractors and subcontractors and equal opportunities for both men and women applying for jobs with, or already working for, these employers.”

The final rule updates OFCCP’s sex discrimination regulations to make them consistent with current law. It makes explicit the protections against compensation discrimination; sexually hostile work environments; discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions; and discrimination based on unlawful sex stereotypes, gender identity, and transgender status. The regulations also promote fair pay practices.

OFCCP will publish the final rule in an upcoming edition of the Federal Register.

The announcement coincided with the United State of Women summit convened by the White House, which brought together advocates of gender equality and highlighted areas of progress, as well as identify and meet remaining challenges.

Retailer at Brooklyn Navy Yard Hit With Multi-Count Discrimination Lawsuit by DOL’s OFCCP

A retailer that operates at the Brooklyn Naval Yard has hit the trifecta, accused by the U.S. Department of Labor of discriminating against Hispanic employees and female, black and Asian jobseekers.

The accused is B&H Foto & Electronics Corp., a photo, video, audio and digital imaging retailer headquartered in Manhattan, The company has supply contracts with the General Services Administration and the Department of Justice’s Federal Bureau of Investigation valued in excess of $46 million.

The bill of particulars against the company is a long one as detailed in a lawsuit filed by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, the DOL unit that enforces discrimination requirements against federal contractors.

According to the lawsuit, B&H Foto committed these violations of nondiscrimination rules during 2011-2013.

  • B&H’s Brooklyn Navy Yard warehouse exclusively hired Hispanic men into its entry-level laborer job group, contributing to the complete exclusion of female employees at the warehouse and the near exclusion of black and Asian employees at the facility.
  • B&H promoted and compensated its Hispanic workers at a significantly lower rate than comparable white workers, leading to lower pay, fewer opportunities to advance and a near-total exclusion of Hispanic workers from higher level clerical, managerial and supervisory positions. Hispanic employees were also subjected to racist remarks, degrading comments and harassment at the worksite.

In addition to its findings regarding hiring, compensation and promotion discrimination and harassment, OFCCP found that B&H’s Brooklyn Navy Yard warehouse:

  • Failed to keep and preserve required personnel and employment records.
  • Relegated Hispanic warehouse workers to separate, unsanitary and often inoperable restrooms.
  • Failed to provide designated restroom or changing facilities for females.

For more on the lawsuit, click here.

OFCCP: Sex Bias Guidelines Need Updating

Calling current sex discrimination guidelines “woefully out of date”  and not reflective of current law and changes in the workplace, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has proposed a major rewrite to bring them into the 21st century. In a proposed rule published on Friday, January 30, the OFCCP–which enforces nondiscrimination rules in government contracting– said it wants the rules to align with societal and legal changes since they were first issued in the 1970s.

The new rules would expand focus to include pregnancy discrimination, gender identity discrimination, and sexual harassment, the agency’s announcement said.

OFCCP’s sex discrimination guidelines implement Executive Order 11246, which prohibits companies with federal contracts and subcontracts from sex discrimination in employment. The proposed rule would update these guidelines to reflect demographic developments such as the increased presence of women in the workplace, as well as legal developments — including a Supreme Court ruling recognizing that a sexually hostile work environment is a form of sex discrimination and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which strengthened workplace protections for pregnant women. The agency’s notice of proposed rulemaking addresses a variety of barriers to equal opportunity that too many women face in the workplace today, including pay discrimination, sexual harassment, failure to provide workplace accommodations for pregnancy and gender identity and family caregiving discrimination.

“A person’s gender should never determine whether or not she gets, keeps or advances in a job,” said Latifa Lyles, director of the department’s Women’s Bureau. “The rule we are proposing will protect workers from losing out on job opportunities because of antiquated stereotypes, nonconformity with gender norms or pregnancy.”

Here’s a link to the proposed rule. The public has until March 31 to comment.

DOL Proposes Rule to Protect Federal Contractor Employees Right to Discuss Pay

If you’re a federal contractor and are tempted to clamp down on your employees’ talking among each other about their pay, don’t.

That’s forbidden under Executive Order 13665 signed in April by President Obama.

Now the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has put some meat on the bones of that executive order, publishing today proposed rules addressing pay secrecy. Under the proposal, federal contractors must allow employees to discuss their wages with one another except in two circumstances: the conversations would be disruptive, or the employee has access to the compensation information by virtue of their job duties (for example, HR professionals).

Contractors would have to publish these guidelines in employee manuals and handbooks.

To read the notice of proposed rulemaking, click here.