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News Release

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.


Employment Standards Administration

ESA Press Release: Frito-lay Inc. Agrees to Pay $225,000 in Back Wages to 233 Minority Applicants for Discrimination Found at Louisiana Plant [04/21/1999]

For more information call: 202-219-8211

Frito-Lay Inc will pay $225,000 in back wages to 233 minority applicants who were victims of discrimination for entry level positions at its Harahan, Louisiana, plant, near New Orleans. The back wages are part of a consent decree between Frito-Lay and the U.S. Department of Labor which was approved yesterday (April 20, 1999) by an Administrative Law Judge.

"Discrimination remains stubbornly entrenched in too many American workplaces," said Secretary of Labor Alexis M. Herman. "As long as some Americans are kept from participating in the economic life of our society because of their race, gender or other factors unrelated to their qualifications to perform a job, this Department will act on their behalf."

As a federal subcontractor, Frito-Lay is prohibited from engaging in discriminatory practices in the workplace. In 1995, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs undertook a compliance review of the plant and found that the company had discriminated against African Americans in the hiring process. Suit was filed by the Department in 1997, and the extensive discovery revealed not only that the plant hired disproportionately more whites than blacks as route salespersons and store representatives, but that those blacks who were hired were disproportionately assigned to higher crimes zones in New Orleans.

Following settlement discussions, Frito-Lay and DOL agreed to the terms of the consent decree, which will resolve the allegations of racial discrimination. Frito-Lay, which employed about 200 people at the plant when the review began, agreed to offer jobs as openings occur to the minority applicants in the affected class until 25 have been hired. All of the newly hired who successfully complete the probationary period will also be entitled to a full-service credit with benefits retroactive to January 1, 1995. Additionally, Frito-Lay will train managers in equal employment opportunity, establish affirmative action programs to hire qualified minorities, keep and maintain certain records and submit follow-up progress reports twice a year for two years.

"Affirmative action and non-discrimination are required for Frito-Lay and all federal contractors," said Bernard E. Anderson, Assistant Secretary for Employment Standards, of which OFCCP is a part. "I urge all businesses to evaluate their hiring and recruitment practices to ensure that those who are hired are chosen based on their abilities, not excluded based on their race. I recommend that they do so on their own before the Labor Department seeks redress."

OFCCP is part of the Labor Department's Employment Standards Administration. It enforces Executive Order 11246, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Vietnam Veterans' Readjustment Act of 1974, as amended. This group of laws prohibit federal contractors and subcontractors from discrimination in employment based on race, gender, religion, national origin, disability or veteran status.

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

Employment Standards Administration
April 21, 1999
Contact: David Roberts
Phone Number