Today the DOL issued this press release with the following title:
Federal contractor Caviness Beef Packers agrees to pay $600,000 to applicants to resolve allegations of hiring discrimination
What I would like to call attention to is the secondary headline:
746 applicants in Amarillo and Hereford, Texas, affected
I am doing this is to illustrate that if you have or will be found in violation of AAP, EEO, or VEVRAA, it’s not a simple matter of writing a check. For many companies, $600k is only a minor pain. However, Caviness must track down each of the 746 applicants and make sure they get their $804.29. Yes, that $600,000, divided among 746 people, averages out to a mere $804.29. Some may get more, some may get less, depending on back wages and interest. Regardless, this is an enormous administrative pain for the company over a relatively small sum to give to the aggrieved.
Caviness will be revising its selection process to avoid future violations and ensure fair hiring practices. If they have not kept their process in compliance, they may find this arduous. In addition, Caviness must also provide 81 job offers as positions become available.
To sum up, as today’s release shows, proper procedures and proper documentation do not simply protect companies from direct financial loss, but from many indirect ones as well. The cost of paying the complainants (searching, postage, hours), revising the hiring process (hours), probably also revising their AAP (hours, $), and paying legal fees ($) exceeds the $600,000 price tag alluded to.
It’s not always about paying back the workers. It also sends a message. To quote Director Shiu from the release:
The law is clear. Discrimination will not be tolerated by employers who profit from lucrative government contracts. We are committed to protecting workers from discrimination, including the hundreds of qualified white, black, Asian and female job seekers involved in this case.