Labor Dept. settles racial discrimination

Michael P. Tremoglie Jan. 16, 2012, 11:45am

WASHINGTON -- The Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has announced that government contractor JacintoPort International has agreed to settle allegations of hiring discrimination on the basis of race involving 48 African-American and 21 Caucasian job applicants rejected for longshoreman positions at the company's Houston facility.

"In this day and age, it is shocking that any company would allow race to be a factor in determining who gets hired," OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu said. "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."

DOL previously cited JacintoPort for violating requirements of Executive Order 11246 by failing to implement an applicant tracking system for new hires, and to develop and execute action-oriented programs to recruit women and African-Americans. This matter was settled on June 6, 2006. JacintoPort agreed to correct the violations and produce semiannual reports on the company's progress in employing women and minorities.

It was these reports that led to the current citation. DOL investigators found that the company was giving preferential treatment to Latino applicants and systematically discriminating against African-Americans and Caucasians seeking longshoreman jobs.

JacintoPort will pay $219,000 in back wages and interest to the affected individuals, and make 17 job offers to members of the original class as longshoreman positions become available. The company has agreed to undertake extensive self-monitoring measures to ensure that all hiring practices fully comply with the law, including record-keeping requirements.

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