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The press release below came out just today. The thing I find notable is that, although the settlement amount isn’t tremendous for a company this size, the real cost was quite a bit larger. The audit which led to this settlement began in May of 2005, meaning Nash Finch has been accruing legal and consulting fees for over 7 years! That is in addition to the staff productivity lost during that time.
What are your thoughts?
OFCCP News Release: [09/28/2012]
Contact Name: Michael Trupo
Phone Number: (202) 693-6588
Release Number: 12-1871-ATL
LUMBERTON, N.C. — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has reached an agreement with federal contractor Nash Finch Co. to settle allegations of hiring discrimination against female job applicants at the company’s distribution facility in Lumberton. In consent findings approved by the department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges, Nash Finch Co. has agreed to pay $188,500 in back wages and interest to 84 women who were rejected for the entry-level position of order selector at the company’s distribution facility in Lumberton.
“I am glad we were able to achieve a fair resolution in this case,” said Solicitor of Labor M. Patricia Smith. “Our economy cannot afford to lose the skills and talents of millions of American women who count on us to enforce equal opportunity laws so that they can find good jobs without fear of discrimination.”
OFCCP investigators conducted a review of Nash Finch’s employment practices at the Lumberton facility from May 1, 2005, to Dec. 31, 2006. Based on their findings, the agency asserted that Nash Finch had failed to ensure qualified female job applicants received equal consideration for employment without regard to sex as required by Executive Order 11246. OFCCP filed a complaint with the Labor Department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges on Nov. 30, 2010, alleging that Nash Finch systematically had discriminated against women who applied for jobs as order selectors during a nine-month period in 2006.
“Our government relies on thousands of private companies to produce the goods and provide the services that we depend on to do our jobs,” said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. “It is in everyone’s best interest that contractors like Nash Finch succeed. But, for federal contractors, success is not measured solely by performing a task or providing a service. True success means that, as required by law, every qualified worker has a fair shot at jobs funded by taxpayer dollars.”
In addition to the financial remedies, the settlement requires Nash Finch to extend job offers to up to 12 women in the original class as order selector positions become available. The company must also submit progress reports to OFCCP for the next two years.
Women who applied and were rejected for order selector positions at Nash Finch’s Lumberton facility between March 1 and Dec. 31, 2006, may be eligible for the back wages, interest and job opportunities in this settlement. The company will attempt to contact all class members to explain their eligibility for these remedies. However, anyone who does not receive such a notice and believes the omission is an error can contact OFCCP’s toll-free helpline at 800-397-6251 (TTY: 877-889-5627) for more information.
Nash Finch is based in Minneapolis and is the second-largest publicly traded wholesale food distributor in the nation. The company distributes food products to military commissaries around the world. Since the start of the OFCCP review period on May 1, 2005, Nash Finch has received payments of more than $14 million from the U.S. Department of Defense.
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. As amended, these three laws require those who do business with the federal government, both contractors and subcontractors, to follow the fair and reasonable standard that they not discriminate in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. For general information about the agency, call OFCCP’s helpline or visit its website at http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/.
Solis v. Nash Finch Co.
Case Number: 2011-OFC-00004