Employment Law Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law and HR

Oct 17, 2013

Bank ordered to pay over $2 million to rejected applicants

Affirmative ActionHiring 

OFCCP announced that Bank of America has been ordered by an administrative law judge to pay $2,181,593 in back wages and interest to disappointed African American job applicants.

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced that Bank of America has been ordered by an administrative law judge to pay $2,181,593 in back wages and interest to disappointed African American job applicants. It all started on November 24, 1993, when the OFCCP notified the bank it had been selected for a random affirmative action audit. After a long, convoluted legal process, the judge ruled in the OFCCP’s favor on all points, finding that the company’s hiring process discriminated against African Americans. The money will be shared by 1,147 applicants who were rejected for positions as bank tellers and as entry-level clerical and administrative employees. The judge also ordered the bank to offer jobs, with back-dated seniority, to 10 of the individuals as jobs come open.

Tips: Affirmative action audits are about as much fun as eating nails for breakfast, so one can imagine what two decades of wrangling with OFCCP over this audit would do to one’s sanity. Also, the company’s legal fees are likely enormous. Employers with federal contracts need to pay particular attention to disparities in their hiring rates based on race/ethnicity or gender, especially for entry-level positions. Allegations of hiring discrimination can result in significant back pay liability. Employers are vulnerable if they have lots of entry-level applicants, because memories can fade over time and the hiring manager may not have specifically documented why each individual was rejected. To help with your recordkeeping, see our Model Form, “Job Candidate Comparison” (922), and tailor the criteria to your hiring process and positions.

Vigilant helps employers throughout the Northwest and California with affirmative action plans and staying compliant. Check out our brochure or contact us to learn more.

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