Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. has agreed to pay $159,050 in back wages and interest to resolve alleged systemic hiring discrimination violations found in a routine compliance evaluation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). The company has also agreed to make job offers to six eligible class members who express an interest in employment and meet qualifications.
“Ingalls strongly denies that it discriminated against any of these applicants in the hiring process,” spokesman Bill Glenn said in an email to Newport News, Va., based newspaper, the Daily Press, which notes that a redacted copy of the settlement agreement confirmed the company did not admit wrongdoing, nor had it been found in violation of federal law.
According to the Department of Labor, OFCCP alleged that, beginning in 2011, Huntington Ingalls Inc. discriminated in its hiring and selection process against 80 African-Americans who applied for helper laborer positions at its Pascagoula, Mississippi, shipyard. Investigators also found the company used a pipefitter helper assessment as a prerequisite for continuing in the hiring process. Huntington Ingalls Inc. used the assessment even though it was not supported by a validation study that satisfies the requirements of the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures.
To ensure future compliance, the company will evaluate and revise its job descriptions, as necessary. Huntington Ingalls will ensure that it trains personnel involved with hiring and selection processes to safeguard non-discriminatory practices.
“Employers must monitor their hiring process to ensure applicants are not rejected based on unlawful practices,” said Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ Southeast Regional Director Samuel B. Maiden, in Atlanta, Georgia.
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. These laws, as amended, make it illegal for contractors and subcontractors doing business with the federal government to discriminate in employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran. In addition, contractors and subcontractors are prohibited from discriminating against applicants or employees because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their compensation or the compensation of others subject to certain limitations.