Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Company Pays $175 Thousand to Settle Discrimination Allegations

A conciliation agreement is the result of a third party helping parties resolve a dispute. The process is similar to mediation in that a conciliator assists parties to reach an agreed resolution. However, a conciliator also expresses opinions about the merits of the dispute but does not decide the conflicts for the parties. It is useful if one side has unworkable beliefs about the fight; a pro-active approach to the advantages may help resolve the disagreement. The approach is advantageous if both sides want resolution by objective opinions concerning appropriate decision-making, rather than just mediation and settlement (online source).

The Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and Conduent Commercial Solutions have entered into a conciliation agreement by which Conduent, a Federal contractor, has agreed to pay $175 thousand in back wages to resolve claims of systemic hiring discrimination at its Portland, Oregon facility.

During a routine compliance evaluation (note the word 'routine'), the OFCCP alleged (note the word 'alleged') that in 2012, Conduent discriminated against 1,121 female, African American and Asian applicants for its customer care assistant position. That's a huge number of applicants. OFCCP determined, based on its evaluation, that the company's hiring practices violated Federal prohibitions against discriminating in employment based on, among many other things, race.

This case has been going on for seven years and it sounds to us like Conduent was ready to throw some money at the situation and get the matter behind them. Actually, Conduent did not own the company back it 2012. It was part of Xerox. In its own statement on the settlement, Conduent stated that it entered into the agreement in order to "... put these legacy issues behind us." Under the terms of the conciliation agreement, Conduent agreed to pay $175 thousand in back wages and make 138 job offers to original applicants as positions become available. Also, Conduent committed to ensuring that its personnel and hiring practices comply with EEO laws and regulations.

The Labor Department press release did not detail the exact nature of Conduent's activities that gave rise to its allegations. Many of these cases involve insufficient documentation as to why an applicant was not considered for a position.

The full Labor Department press release can be accessed here.

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