Vigilant Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law, HR, safety & workers' comp

Oct 05, 2011

Affirmative Action: OFCCP alleges cheese producer discriminated against minorities


The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has issued a press release publicizing its allegations that the nations largest producer of mozzarella cheese discriminated against applicants for on-call laborer positions on the basis of race/ethnicity. The company used a test to assess candidates, and the OFCCP found that the test had a significant adverse impact on qualified minority applicants. Although the company believed the test measured job-related skills, the OFCCP disagreed, eventually filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor. The agency is seeking back pay and interest for at least 270 disappointed applicants, as well as debarment from federal contracts until the allegations are resolved.

Tips: If your business depends on income from federal contracts, pay close attention to any obligations you may have as a federal contractor. Although job-related tests can be a helpful tool to fairly compare candidates, the OFCCP is highly suspicious of any test that has an adverse impact on the basis of race or gender. The safest approach is to use tests that mimic actual job tasks that are essential to the position. Need help with affirmative action compliance? Vigilants affirmative action services, available for a flat annual fee, include not only plan preparation but also all assistance during an OFCCP audit. Contact your Vigilant staff representative for more information, and see our Legal Guide, Affirmative Action Requirements for Supply and Service Contractors (1651).

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