OFCCP sues Meyer Tool Inc. for systemic discrimination against African-Americans

News Release
OFCCP News Release: [11/23/2010]
Contact Name: Rhonda Burke or Scott Allen
Phone Number: (312) 353-6976
Release Number: 10-1605-CHI

US Department of Labor sues Meyer Tool Inc. for systemic discrimination against African-Americans

Complaint seeks remedies for affected machinist applicants

CINCINNATI – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has filed an administrative complaint against Meyer Tool Inc., a federal contractor that manufactures engine parts for the aerospace industry. The suit alleges that Meyer Tool systematically rejected African-American job applicants who sought entry-level machinist positions at its plant in Cincinnati.

The complaint was filed today with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Administrative Law Judges in Washington, D.C., after OFCCP was unable to secure a fair resolution from Meyer Tool during conciliation efforts with the company.

This defendant has a contractual obligation to provide equal employment opportunity,” said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. “The company failed to meet that obligation. So we will enforce the law and hold Meyer Tool accountable to the fair and reasonable standard that it not discriminate against any group of workers.

The company’s discriminatory practices and recordkeeping violations were discovered by OFCCP during a scheduled review to determine the company’s compliance with Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of race when making hiring decisions. OFCCP’s investigation revealed that Meyer Tool failed to implement an internal audit and reporting system to ensure nondiscriminatory policies were carried out as required by law; retain employment applications for the required two-year period; implement an applicant tracking system to determine selection disparities; and develop action-oriented programs to address the adverse impact against African-Americans in the machinist job group.

The complaint seeks a court order requiring Meyer Tool Inc. to hire at least 14 African-American applicants from the affected class list and to provide them with lost wages and retroactive seniority. Should the company fail to provide such relief and remedy its violations, OFCCP believes Meyer Tool should face cancellation of its existing government contracts and debarment from entering into future ones.

In addition to Executive Order 11246, OFCCP’s legal authority exists under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. As amended, these three laws prohibit federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. For more information, call OFCCP’s toll-free helpline at 800-397-6251. Additional information is available at http://www.dol.gov/ofccp.

Solis v. Meyer Tool Inc.
Case Number: 2011-OFC-3

Paycheck Fairness Act Not Passed in Senate

The Paycheck Fairness Act by a vote of 58-41, did not have the 60 votes required to move forward in the Senate.  In response, the Secretary of Labor stated on the DOL blog today “I am deeply disappointed that the Senate did not pass this important piece of legislation, but the issue of pay equity is far too important to give up. I remain committed to the fight for this commonsense reform, and my department will redouble its efforts to ensure America’s women are not treated as second class citizens by employers who refuse to compensate them in a fair and equitable manner.”

Click here to read the full version DOL’s blog on their continued fight for pay equity.

USBLN® Releases Three Toolkits to Assist Affiliates and Employer Members Engage Students with Disabilities

US Business Leadership Network

USBLN® Releases Three Toolkits to Assist Affiliates and Employer Members Engage Students with Disabilities

For Immediate Release
November 9, 2010

Contact: Gary Goosman
Phone: 202-349-4259
gary@usbln.org

WASHINGTON, DC (November 9, 2010) – The US Business Leadership Network (USBLN®) has released three new toolkits aimed at creating quality connections between USBLN® affiliates, employers, and students with disabilities eager to gain the skills needed to enter the competitive workplace. Each of these three toolkits provides guidance on creating or expanding quality internship and mentoring programs as well as student advisory councils to provide direct career development to the next generation of employees.

“The creation and release of these toolkits, which are key components of our TOWER Initiative, directly support the USBLN® mission to assist in career preparation for and employment of people with disabilities. We are proud to provide our network of affiliates and employers with these content-rich guides that contain actionable advice, instructions and sample information that can be readily implemented to engage students with disabilities today,” shared John D. Kemp, USBLN® Executive Director & General Counsel.

All three toolkits provide comprehensive information on the tools on work and employment readiness needed by both students with disabilities and employers. Each of these toolkits also outlines the benefits to USBLN® affiliates, employers, and students with disabilities for participating in quality student-focused programs.

Guide to Business-Branded Mentoring
This toolkit aims to help USBLN® affiliates and employers create and expand existing mentoring programs to include students with disabilities from the local community. The USBLN® believes that the creation of this toolkit will provide a level of synergy across affiliate-based mentoring programs and assist employment-focused mentoring programs. Mentoring programs that are age and stage appropriate help students with disabilities gain the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for their desired career field and broaden their employer-focused network. Mentoring programs assist employers by providing staff mentors with the direct experience of working with a person with a disability. Through mentoring programs, employers are also able to establish relationships with students with disabilities, which is beneficial when recruiting for full-time positions.

Guide to Business-Branded Internships
This toolkit will assist USBLN® affiliates and employer members include students with disabilities in new or existing internship programs. This toolkit also goes a step farther to provide internship programs with ideas and strategies designed to strengthen learning opportunities for students in the internship program, which will provide a higher return on investment for the employer. Internship programs that are age and stage appropriate for the students participating will help the students gain the knowledge, skills, and abilities they need to create a work connection upon graduation. Internship programs are fundamental to employers in creating the next generation of qualified employees by ensuring they gain the skills needed in the workplace.

Guide to Creating Student Advisory Councils
This toolkit provides guidance to USBLN® affiliates and employer members to understand uses for and to create Student Advisory Councils. The USBLN® believes that the use of this toolkit will increase the involvement between affiliates, employers, and students with disabilities. SACs that are age and stage appropriate assist participating students with gaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to start their career upon graduation. Although this toolkit is primarily geared towards USBLN® affiliates, other organizations will also find this toolkit highly useful if they would like to create a SAC.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Monday Retweet – The Week of October 29th, 2010

My tweets the week of October 29th:

  • OFCCP Proposes an Ambitious Agenda, But Congress May Affect Plans, Speaker Says http://bit.ly/aNaoet
  • RT @Labor_Law JDSupra: Legal Alert: Hospital’s Participation in TRICARE Subjects it to Federal Contractor Affirmative Action Obl… http://bit.ly/aRjHsI
  • NELI AA – OFCCP keeps FAAPs on hold, but announced at San Francisco session that they will keep them and improve them

Read the rest of this entry »

EEOC Public Meeting Explores the Use of Credit Histories as Employee Selection Criteria

PRESS RELEASE
10-20-10

EEOC Public Meeting Explores the Use of Credit Histories as Employee Selection Criteria

Growing Practice Can Have Disparate Impact on African-Americans, Latinos; Are Not Predictive of Job Performance, Some Witnesses Say

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) held a public Commission meeting today to hear testimony from representatives of various stakeholder groups as well as social scientists and the Federal Trade Commission on the growing use of credit histories as selection criteria in employment.

“High unemployment has forced an increasing number of people to enter or re-enter the job market,” said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien.  “As a result, an ever increasing number of job applicants and workers are being exposed to employment screening tools, such as credit checks, that could unfairly exclude them from job opportunities.  Today’s discussion provided important input into our agency’s work to ensure that the workplace is made free of all barriers to equal opportunity.”

The Commission heard from a diverse set of experts. Chi Chi Wu of the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) expressed grave concerns that the use of credit histories is mushrooming at the time of economic instability for many Americans, noting that the use of credit histories “create[s] a fundamental ‘Catch-22’ for job applicants,” especially during this period of high unemployment and high foreclosures, both of which have a negative impact on credit.”  She observed, “You can’t re-establish your credit if you can’t get a job, and you can’t get a job if you’ve got bad credit.”  This view was echoed by several of the witnesses.

Sarah Crawford of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Dr. Avis Jones-DeWeever from the National Council of Negro Women, explained that the use of credit histories in the employment context can have a disparate impact on a range of protected groups, including people of color, women, and people with disabilities.  While the use of credit checks as employment screens increases, Crawford cited studies that show credit history is a poor predictor of job performance.  Additionally, she pointed out that many credit reports are riddled with errors or incomplete information, a view that was echoed by Wu of the NCLC, making whatever predictive value they might have even less reliable.

Representatives from the business community—Michael Eastman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Christine V. Walters of the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) and Pamela Quigley Devata of the law firm Seyfarth Shaw, LLP—told the Commission that the use of credit histories is permissible by law, limited in scope, and predictive in certain situations of reliability.

Walters of SHRM said that “13 percent of organizations conduct credit checks on all job candidates … [and] another 47 percent … consider credit history … for select jobs,” but for those employers, “credit histories are but one piece of the puzzle.”  It is the experience of SHRM member companies that very few utilize credit histories for every single job opening.  Devata asserted that the use of credit histories is driven, in part, by the need for background information on potential employees in a current environment when it is difficult to obtain any but the most basic information in job references.

However, Dr. Michael Aamodt, an industrial psychologist, said that although there is considerable research that supports the use of credit scores in making consumer decisions, there is little research exploring the implications of using credit checks in the employment context.  Given the potential for discriminatory exclusion, he concluded that it would be wise to use an applicant’s credit history only within the context of a thorough background check.

This meeting is one of several throughout the year that will examine barriers to employment and their potential adverse impact on protected groups.  The statements of all the panelists, along with their biographies, can be found on the EEOC’s website at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/meetings/10-20-10/index.cfm.  A complete transcript of the testimony will be posted later.

The EEOC enforces the nation’s laws against employment discrimination.  More information is available on the Commission’s website at www.eeoc.gov.

The Monday Retweet – The Week of October 25th, 2010

My tweets the week of October 25th:

  • Affirmative Action Alerts: Jim Higgins – Revising the Americans With Disabili… http://t.co/yJalGxM
  • Ability & Possibility: A Personal Chronicle of the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act http://t.co/5QX5CtY
  • ODEP’s Business Sense: inside track for all employers on the latest information related to disability employment http://bit.ly/9RLpRp

Read the rest of this entry »