Hospira, OFCCP Reach $400K Hiring Bias Settlement

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By Jay-Anne Casuga

Oct. 13 — Pharmaceutical manufacturer Hospira Inc. has agreed to pay $400,000 to settle allegations by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs that the company violated Executive Order 11,246 by discriminating against 145 female applicants in hiring for pharmacy attendant positions in Kansas, the DOL announced.

During a scheduled compliance review, the OFCCP analyzed Hospira's 2012 hiring process and selection procedures at its McPherson, Kan., facility and found a “statistically significant disparity” in the hiring of pharmaceutical attendants based on sex, a Department of Labor spokeswoman Oct. 13 told Bloomberg BNA.

The spokeswoman said 160 females applied for the positions and 15, or 9.4 percent, were hired. By comparison, 199 males applied for the same positions and 45, or 22.6 percent, were hired, she said.

“This resulted in a hiring shortfall of 11 females and a disparity that was statistically significant at 3.34 standard deviations,” she said.

Generally, when the OFCCP conducts statistical analyses of contractors' hiring data, a finding of two or more standard deviations indicates a significant disparity in selection rates.

Tracking System Would Have Helped

Hospira also failed to implement an applicant tracking system that would have allowed it to analyze the pool of applicants and monitor whether the process was “yielding an adequate pool of qualified minority applicants,” the spokeswoman said. The tracking system would also have enabled the employer to “monitor for disparate treatment or unlawful adverse impact in the selection,” she said.

Under a conciliation agreement with the OFCCP, Hospira has agreed to hire 11 female class members in addition to paying $400,000 in back wages and interest.

Hospira, which is owned by Pfizer Inc., has received more than $35 million in federal contracts to develop and manufacture injection medications for the federal government, according to the DOL.

A Pfizer spokeswoman Oct. 13 told Bloomberg BNA that Hospira believes its hiring practices at the plant have been fair.

“Hospira has a strong track record of compliance with OFCCP requirements and is confident our hiring practices support the company's priority of employing diverse and skilled talent,” she said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jay-Anne Casuga in Washington at jcasuga@bna.com.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan J. McGolrick at smcgolrick@bna.com.