Nearly 1,300 women to share $475K in back wages and interest
OKLAHOMA CITY — Following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, Great Plains Coca-Cola Bottling Co. has agreed to pay $475,000 in back wages and interest to settle allegations of sex discrimination affecting 1,293 female job seekers. OFCCP investigators determined that Great Plains Coca-Cola Bottling unfairly rejected these qualified women for merchandiser, driver, driver trainee, production and warehouse positions at the company's bottling and distribution facility in Oklahoma City.
"We cannot build a 21st century workforce by leaving more than half our people behind," said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. "It is past time for employers to recognize that skills, not sex, should be the determining factor in who gets the job."
Today's settlement stems from an OFCCP review of Great Plain Coca-Cola Bottling's hiring practices over a two-year period beginning in June 2007. Investigators found that female applicants were much less likely to be hired than similarly-situated male applicants and determined that the company had violated Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sex when making employment decisions.
In addition to the financial remedies, the company will make job offers to 116 of the original class members as positions become available. 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.
Great Plains Coca-Cola Bottling has been an operating unit of Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Refreshments since 2012. At the time of OFCCP's review, the Oklahoma City establishment was one of eight bottling facilities that comprised the then privately held Great Plains Coca-Cola Bottling Co.
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 that those who do business with the federal government, both contractors and subcontractors, must 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 more information, visit http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/.