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News Release

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS ADMINISTRATION

SMITH & WESSON, INC., TO PAY $450,000 IN BACK WAGES IN GENDER DISCRIMINATION CASEMon., June 5, 1995

For more information call: (202) 219-8743.

Smith & Wesson, Inc., of Springfield, Mass., has agreed to pay up to $450,000 in back wages to 1,600 women who were denied jobs over a two-year period because of unfair hiring practices, Secretary of Labor Robert B. Reich announced today.

"Workers are to be considered for employment based solely on their qualifications and not their gender or some other unrelated factor," Reich said. "Equal opportunity for all American workers is the law of the land and this administration is committed to enforcing equality in the workplace."

Smith & Wesson, a major firearms manufacturer, produces a variety of Firearms at its Springfield plant and has contracts with the federal government to supply the military services and law enforcement agencies.

Labor Department investigators said the review of hiring practices at Smith & Wesson's Springfield facility showed that although 1,600 women applied for production or craft positions between July 1, 1985 and June 30, 1987, none were hired.

The agreement between Smith & Wesson and the department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) was approved by a Labor Department administrative law judge. It resolves violations found during an OFCCP review in 1987 that found Smith & Wesson had failed to treat qualified female applicants equally in its selection process for jobs as roduction machine operators and revolver fitter trainees. These violations occurred between July 1, 1985 and June 30, 1987.

The settlement calls for back wage payments to the 1,600 applicants who can be located. Consequently, release of the total $450,000 will depend upon the number of discrimination victims who come forward.

OFCCP will notify the women applicants, obtain a signed release from them and provide Smith & Wesson with a final listing of the individuals who are eligible to receive back pay. Smith & Wesson is responsible for sending a check for the appropriate amount to each individual and to notify OFCCP of action taken.

Following the 1987 review, the Labor Department attempted to bring the company into compliance with federal equal employment opportunity and affirmative action requirements through conciliation efforts, which failed. As a result, the department filed an administrative complaint against Smith & Wesson alleging the company failed to comply with its obligations as a federal contractor. The consent decree announced today resolves that administrative complaint.

In addition, Smith & Wesson has agreed to design and implement an internal audit and reporting system to measure the effectiveness of its total affirmative action program. Smith & Wesson employs about 1,700 workers.

Assistant Secretary for Employment Standards Bernard E. Anderson, said: "We will pursue a tough and responsible enforcement policy to ensure that employers provide access to equal employment opportunity in the workplace."

OFCCP, which conducted the compliance review, enforces laws requiring federal contractors and subcontractors to guarantee equal employment opportunity regardless of race, gender, color, religion, national origin, disability or veteran status.

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Agency
Employment Standards Administration
Date
June 5, 1995
Contact: David Roberts
Phone Number