ROANOKE, Va. – A division of one of the nation’s leading transportation companies has entered into a conciliation agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs to resolve allegations of race-based hiring discrimination.
Norfolk Southern Corp. is a federal contractor that, in recent years, has had more than $10 million in contracts with the Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of the Navy, U.S. Department of Air Force and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services.
Maintenance of Way #34 – a business unit in Norfolk Southern’s engineering department – entered into the agreement after OFCCP determined the company failed to provide equal employment opportunities to 2,086 African Americans who applied for the track laborer and building and bridge laborer positions at the company’s Roanoke facility. During its scheduled compliance evaluation, OFCCP found that – from Jan. 1, 2010, through Dec. 31, 2011 – Maintenance of Way #34 engaged in hiring practices that discriminated against African-American applicants.
The company’s actions violated Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating in employment based on race or color in their employment practices.
“Workers should never be denied a fair shot at employment because of factors that have absolutely nothing to do with their ability to effectively perform the job,” said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. “This case highlights our commitment to combatting discrimination that gets in the way of equal employment opportunities for qualified workers.”
Under the terms of the agreement, the company, which has not admitted liability, will pay $492,000 in back pay and interest to the African-American applicants. Norfolk Southern also agreed to make job offers to seven of the non-selected applicants. Additionally, the company has agreed to discontinue use of the selection procedures in question for the track laborer and building and bridge laborer positions, and to review and modify its employment practices including recruitment, screening, interviewing, selection, rejection and hiring in order to comply with Executive Order 11246. The agreement resolves all violations found by OFCCP.
Norfolk Southern is one of the nation’s oldest transportation companies, and operates approximately 20,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia. It is a major transporter of coal, automotive, and industrial products. Its Maintenance of Way #34 business unit is responsible for maintenance of the Virginia rail tracks throughout the state, including highways, roads, streets, and other management and consulting services.
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 laws, as amended, make it illegal for contractors and subcontractors doing business with the federal government to discriminate in employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. In addition, contractors and subcontractors are prohibited from discriminating against applicants or employees because they have inquired about, discussed or disclosed their compensation or that of others, subject to certain limitations. For more information, please call OFCCP’s toll-free helpline at 800-397-6251 or visit http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/.
OFCCP recently launched the Class Member Locator. The purpose of the CML is to identify applicants and/or workers who have been impacted by OFCCP’s compliance evaluations and complaint investigations and who may be entitled to a portion of monetary relief and/or consideration for job placement. If you are an African American who applied for work as a track laborer or building and bridge laborer with Norfolk Southern’s Maintenance of Way #34 business unit in Roanoke from Jan. 1, 2010, to Dec. 31, 2011, and were not hired, please visit our website at http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/CML/index.htm, where you can also find information about this and other recent OFCCP settlements, or call 844-438-0272.