CONWAY, Ark. – Landing a job that pays an average of $50,000 a year with a household name in the information technology industry is something to make any worker proud. It was an opportunity denied allegedly to more than 500 job applicants at the Hewlett-Packard Co. in Conway, as the company failed to provide equal opportunity for workers of all races and ethnicities to compete for well-paid professional positions.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs announced today that HP has agreed to pay $750,000 in back wages and interest to settle allegations of hiring discrimination. The action affects 504 qualified applicants – including 349 African Americans, one American Indian/Alaskan Native, 109 Asians, 44 Hispanics and one Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander – who the company rejected for Inside Sales Representative positions at its Conway location. Executive Order 11246 prohibits federal contractors such as HP from discriminating in employment based on race or national origin.
“This settlement reflects a mutual commitment between the U.S. Labor Department and Hewlett-Packard to ensure that all workers have a fair shot at competing for good jobs,” said OFCCP Director Patricia Shiu. “Where hiring practices are barriers to equal opportunity, federal contractors have an obligation to break down those barriers and reform the process.”
After an investigation that included rigorous statistical analysis, employee and applicant interviews, and a review of information supplied by the company, OFCCP concluded that HP discriminated against qualified minorities who applied for inside sales representative positions between December 2008 and August 2010.
In its conciliation agreement with OFCCP, HP denies liability, but will pay back wages and interest to the affected class members. The company has also agreed to place 33 of the applicants into inside sales representative positions, with retroactive seniority for the new hires, as positions become available. HP will also undertake extensive measures to ensure that its personnel practices, including record keeping, comply with the law.
HP provides automatic data processing, telecommunication services and other computer-related services to the federal government. During the period reviewed in this investigation, the company received more than $200 million in federal contracts.
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 under an OFCCP conciliation agreement. If you think you may be a class member who applied to Hewlett-Packard’s Conway, Arkansas facility between December 2008 and August 2010, please visit our website at: http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/CML/index.htm , where you can also find information about other recent OFCCP settlements.