Daily Labor Report® is the objective resource the nation’s foremost labor and employment professionals read and rely on, providing reliable, analytical coverage of top labor and employment...
Sept. 8 — A Coca-Cola bottler in Oklahoma has entered into a $475,000 conciliation agreement with the Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs to settle agency allegations that the company discriminated against a class of 1,293 female applicants, the DOL announced Sept. 4.
According to the Labor Department, the OFCCP in June 2009 conducted a compliance review of Great Plains Coca-Cola Bottling Co.'s hiring practices at its bottling and distribution facility in Oklahoma City.
The OFCCP concluded that female applicants “were much less likely to be hired than similarly situated male applicants” for merchandiser, driver, driver trainee, production and warehouse positions during a two-year period beginning June 2007, the agency said.
A DOL spokeswoman Sept. 8 told Bloomberg BNA that OFCCP investigators interviewed employees and found a “widespread perception that women were not suited to certain jobs because of their physical nature,” such as those requiring heavy lifting.
She added that “no validated pre-offer test was applied to back up these stereotypes.”
“This resulted in disparate treatment of female job applicants, which is further supported by the statistical analysis,” the spokeswoman said.
The DOL spokeswoman said the OFCCP initiated its compliance review of the Great Plains facility on June 16, 2009, and reviewed the company's employment practices between June 16, 2007, and June 15, 2009.
She said employee interviews conducted by OFCCP investigators revealed sex-based stereotypes about the ability of female workers to perform more physically demanding positions.
Under the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures (UGESP), which the OFCCP adopted in 1978 and codified at 41 C.F.R. part 60-3, a federal contractor with a selection procedure that is determined to have an adverse impact on a protected group must show that it is “job-related and consistent with business necessity” in order to avoid liability under Executive Order 11,246.
Employers can demonstrate a selection procedure's job-relatedness through “test validation” analyses outlined by the UGESP.
The spokeswoman said Great Plains didn't show that it applied a validated pre-offer test “to back up” the alleged discriminatory perception about female workers and physical jobs.
The OFCCP's finding was “further supported” by a statistical analysis of Great Plains's hiring process, she said.
“For example, 20 percent of male applicants were hired as drivers compared to only 8 percent of female applicants,” the spokeswoman said. “An analysis of driver applicants showed a standard deviation of 7.19. A standard deviation of six indicates only a two in one billion chance that the female job applicants would have experienced the same outcome in a completely fair process sans discrimination.”
In addition to the settlement's monetary award, the DOL said Great Plains agreed to offer positions to up to 116 qualified class members.
“The company has also already made necessary changes to the policies, practices and procedures it uses to recruit, track and hire applicants for these positions,” the DOL said.
OFCCP investigators interviewed employees and found a “widespread perception that women were not suited to certain jobs because of their physical nature,” such as those requiring heavy lifting, a DOL spokeswoman told Bloomberg BNA.
For example, the department spokeswoman said OFCCP investigators found that Great Plains during the compliance review period used three different hiring processes, which included paper, telephone and kiosk applications.”
“Since that time the company has moved its application process to an entirely electronic system,” she said. “This electronic system will assist the company with accuracy, consistency and applicant tracking.”
She added that the company also has eliminated the “pre-employment assessment test that was in place throughout the review period” and has agreed to provide the OFCCP with the updated policy in its entirety as part of its reporting requirements.
A Coca-Cola Refreshments spokesman Sept. 8 told Bloomberg BNA that “there have been no admissions of wrongdoing or findings of liability” against the company.
He added that Great Plains was an independent bottler during the OFCCP's compliance review. Coca-Cola Refreshments, he said, acquired Great Plains on Jan. 1, 2012, while the review was pending.
“CCR fully cooperated in resolving this review and entered into the conciliation agreement on behalf of Great Plains as an efficient and cost-effective resolution of the OFCCP's review,” the Coca-Cola Refreshments spokesman said.
He said the companies “remain committed to the affirmative action and equal employment opportunity standards enforced by the OFCCP, and strive to ensure that all its operations provide equal employment opportunities to every individual.”
The DOL spokeswoman said Great Plains has held multiple federal contracts. For instance, she said it had a $1.4 million contract with the Army and Air Force Exchange to provide soft drink vending at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City.
The OFCCP previously has reached settlements with other Coca-Cola bottlers, as well as the parent company.
In October 2010, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated in North Carolina agreed to pay $495,000 to settle OFCCP claims that it engaged in race discrimination in hiring against a class of 95 black and Hispanic applicants for sales support positions.
In May 2002, Coca Cola Co. agreed to pay $4.2 million to more than 2,000 women and minority employees whom the OFCCP alleged were underpaid at the company's corporate headquarters in Atlanta.
To contact the reporter on this story: Jay-Anne B. Casuga in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan J. McGolrick at email@example.com
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)