The United States Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance (OFCCP) has reached an agreement with JacintoPort International LLC, a government defense contractor, for it to pay $219,000 in back wages and interest to job applicants who charged the Houston-based employer with racial discrimination.
The company has chosen to settle out of court the claims of hiring discrimination brought forth by 48 African-American and 21 Caucasian longshoreman applicants. The contractor had previously been cited by OFCCP in 2006 for violating government regulations requiring an applicant tracking system for new hires and programs to recruit women and minorities.
Those citations were addressed by JacintoPort agreeing to correct the violations and report to the OFCCP twice per year on the status of its employment of women and minorities. Upon reviewing these reports, the company was accused of discriminating against African-Americans and Caucasians in favor Latino applicants; specifically for longshoreman positions. It is for these acts of discrimination that JacintoPort is facing fines and a requirement to extend 17 job offers to members of applicants filing the original complaint. The contractor must over undertake self-monitoring procedures that will help to ensure compliance with federal law regarding hiring practices and record keeping.
In addressing the issue, Director of OFCCP Patricia Shiu stated, “In this day and age, it is shocking that any company would allow race to be a factor in determining who gets hired. This settlement should put all federal contractors on notice that, in the Obama administration, we will be persistent when it comes to rooting out workplace discrimination and will vigilantly monitor employers who violate the law until they get it right.”