LOS ANGELES — G&K Services Co. has agreed to settle allegations that it discriminated against female laundry workers by steering them into lower-paying positions regardless of their qualifications. The conciliation agreement between the federal contractor's facility located in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., and the department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs resolves this pay discrimination violation, as well as the related finding that the company discriminated against male applicants in hiring.
"The settlement reflects a mutual commitment between the department and the leadership of G&K Services Co. to ensure that qualified workers, irrespective of gender, have a fair shot at competing for good jobs," said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. "I am pleased by this contractor's willingness to work with us on a proactive strategy to guarantee that all their workers have an equal opportunity to succeed in the workplace."
During a compliance evaluation, OFCCP determined that G&K Services had a practice of assigning laundry workers to different tasks and different pay rates on the basis of gender. Specifically, OFCCP found that between July 1, 2009, and June 30, 2010, female employees who had been hired as general laborers were assigned to "light duty" jobs that paid less than the "heavy duty" jobs involving similar work and qualifications, which the company reserved for men. Denying women access to higher-paying opportunities because of sex stereotyping is a form of pay discrimination in violation of Executive Order 11246. Investigators also found that male applicants were frequently denied the option to compete for a majority of the open laborer opportunities during the review period because the company only considered them for so-called heavy duty work.
Under the terms of the agreement, the contractor will pay $265,983 in back wages to 59 female workers who were steered into the lower paying jobs. G&K Services will also extend to the 59 female class members job offers in the higher-paying laborer positions. In addition, G&K Services will pay $23,968 in back wages to 331 male job applicants who were denied the opportunity to compete for open lower-paying laborer positions and make three job offers. The company has also agreed to undertake extensive self-monitoring measures, and review and revise their hiring and pay practices, to ensure they fully comply with the law.
G&K Services provides textile leasing and renting services to a number of different government agencies, including the Defense Commissary Agency, Bureau of Reclamation and NASA.
In addition to Executive Order 11246, OFCCP enforces Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. These three laws require those who do business with the federal government, both contractors and subcontractors, to follow the fair and reasonable standard that they not discriminate in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. For general information, call OFCCP's toll-free helpline at 800-397-6251 or visit its website at http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/.
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