Army Alcohol Distributor Settles DOL Hiring Bias Claims

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By Jay-Anne B. Casuga

Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits of Louisiana LLC will pay $175,000 to settle Labor Department allegations that it discriminated against 467 black applicants seeking warehouse positions, the agency announced Jan. 9 ( OFCCP v. S. Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of La., LLC , Dep’t of Labor A.L.J., No. 2017-OFC-3, consent decree announced 1/9/17 ).

The settlement is the first so far in 2017 that stems from an administrative action brought by the DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. The OFCCP, which enforces nondiscrimination and affirmative action requirements placed on federal contractors, files only a handful of administrative complaints each year. For example, it filed approximately nine in fiscal year 2016 and 11 in FY 2015.

Here, the agency conducted a routine compliance audit of a Southern Glazer’s facility in St. Rose, La., and found that the company used a hiring process that resulted in race discrimination against black applicants between January 2008 and January 2009, according to an administrative complaint.

In addition to the monetary settlement, Southern Glazer’s agreed to offer jobs to 13 class members.

The OFCCP simultaneously filed the administrative complaint and consent decree with the DOL’s Office of Administrative Law Judges Dec. 16. An ALJ approved the settlement Jan. 3.

Southern Glazer’s contracts with the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, the DOL said. The Exchange operates retail stores, restaurants and theaters for U.S. Army and Air Force facilities.

Company representatives weren’t immediately available to respond to Bloomberg BNA’s Jan. 9 request for comment. The settlement agreement, however, provides that the company denies that it violated any “law, rule, regulation, order, or contract of any kind.”

Labor Solicitor M. Patricia Smith, Associate Labor Solicitor Beverly Dankowitz and DOL attorney Kiesha Cockett in Washington represented the OFCCP. Timothy H. Scott of Fisher Phillips in New Orleans represented Southern Glazer’s.

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

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peggy Aulino at maulino@bna.com; Terence Hyland at thyland@bna.com; Christopher Opfer at copfer@bna.com

For More Information

The administrative complaint and consent decree are available at http://src.bna.com/lha.

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