Colonial Parking Settles OFCCP Hiring, Pay Bias Claims

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By Jay-Anne B. Casuga

Aug. 1 — The largest parking operator in the Washington metropolitan region agreed to pay almost $250,000 to settle Labor Department hiring and pay discrimination allegations, the agency announced today.

The DOL's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs alleged that Colonial Parking Inc. violated Executive Order 11,246 by discriminating against black applicants in hiring for project manager positions and by paying black parking valet attendants less than comparable Hispanic employees.

Under a conciliation agreement with the OFCCP, Colonial will pay $180,194.61 to 20 rejected black applicants and $67,768.21 to 54 valet attendants.

This is the first settlement announced by the OFCCP in 2016 that included compensation discrimination allegations. During the Obama administration, the OFCCP has made combating pay bias one of its top enforcement priorities.

However, most announced settlements, whether through conciliation agreements or consent decrees, in recent years have generally involved hiring discrimination claims. For example, the OFCCP's four previously announced settlements in 2016 all stemmed from hiring bias allegations.

Last year, the OFCCP publicly announced 12 settlements. Six of those settlements involved pay bias allegations or claims that contractors were steering protected applicants into lower-paying positions.

Review Uncovered Indicators of Bias

Colonial Parking representatives didn't immediately respond to Bloomberg BNA's Aug. 1 request for comment. However, the conciliation agreement provides that it doesn't constitute an admission by the company of any violations.

In the conciliation agreement, the OFCCP said it conducted a scheduled compliance review of a Colonial establishment in Washington.

The OFCCP said it analyzed Colonial's hiring data and found that, between January and December 2012, black applicants were less likely to be hired than similarly situated white applicants for project manager positions.

“Colonial failed to apply its selection procedures uniformly for all applicants, which resulted in a statistically significant difference in the rates at which black and whites were hired,” the agency said.

The OFCCP said it also “uncovered anecdotal evidence” that Colonial's selection process included “a significant number of subjective and undocumented decisions by multiple employees, including an employment test that was only administered to some applicants.”

During that same time period, the OFCCP said, it found that black valet attendants “were paid $2,115.36 less per year” than Hispanic workers in the same position “regardless of job assignment and location.”

Settlement Provisions

In addition to paying the settlement awards, Colonial agreed to provide project manager opportunities to three rejected applicants.

The company also will make “job grade and pay-rate adjustments,” as well as review and revise its hiring, training and compensation practices, the DOL said.

For example, the conciliation agreement provides that by December 2016, Colonial must examine pay differences between male and female, and minority and non-minority employees, for statistical significance, “doing so by grouping employees initially by job title,” and then investigate any significant differences.

The DOL said Colonial Parking has federal contracts valued at more than $6.8 million with the U.S. Secret Service and the International Trade Commission’s Office of Procurement Operations.

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

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

For More Information

The conciliation agreement is available at http://src.bna.com/hif.

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