U.S. Department of Labor and Verizon Communications Reach Settlement To Resolve Hiring Discrimination Allegations in New Mexico, Oklahoma
DALLAS, TX – The U.S. Department of Labor and Cellco Partnership – doing business as Verizon Wireless, Verizon Business Network Services Inc. and Verizon Corporate Resources Group LLC, all entities under Verizon Communications Inc. (Verizon) – has entered into an Early Resolution Conciliation Agreement to resolve allegations of racial and gender-based hiring discrimination at facilities in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Tulsa, Oklahoma.
To resolve the allegations of hiring discrimination found by the Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), Verizon Communications Inc. has agreed to pay $675,000 in back pay wages and interest. While not admitting liability in the investigation, Verizon volunteered to enter into the conciliation agreement and to enhance future compliance proactively.
“The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ Early Resolution Procedures are designed to enable federal contractors and the Department to work together to address and resolve issues of non-compliance efficiently,” said Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Director Craig E. Leen.
“The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to resolving issues by working with employers,” said Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Dallas Deputy Regional Director Aida Y. Collins.
Preliminary findings of routine compliance evaluations by the OFCCP found hiring disparities from Jan. 30, 2013, to Nov. 28, 2015, among Native American applicants for customer service specialist positions at Verizon Wireless’ Albuquerque location.
At Verizon Corporate Resources Group LLC in Tulsa, OFCCP found hiring disparities from March 23, 2013, through Dec. 31, 2013 against male applicants for finance analyst positions, and from Jan. 1, 2014, through March 24, 2015 against African American and Asian and Pacific Islander applicants for the same positions.
OFCCP determined that the federal contractor’s actions at both locations violated Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating in employment based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin.
In addition to the back pay and interest, the employer has agreed to extend job opportunities to affected applicants at its Tulsa, Oklahoma, location. The Albuquerque, New Mexico, location is now closed and will not have job opportunities for affected applicants. Verizon also agreed to take steps to ensure future compliance in its personnel practices, including recordkeeping and internal auditing procedures.
In November 2018, OFCCP launched an effort to resolve supply and service compliance evaluations at the earliest stage possible with corporate-wide compliance and issued a directive establishing Early Resolution Procedures (ERP). These procedures allow OFCCP and contractors with multiple establishments to cooperatively implement corporate-wide compliance with OFCCP’s regulatory requirements and efficiently resolve issues.
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 the compensation of others subject to certain limitations, and may not retaliate against applicants or employees for engaging in protected activities. These laws also require that federal contractors provide equal employment opportunity through affirmative action. For more information, please call OFCCP’s toll-free helpline at 800-397-6251 or visit https://www.dol.gov/ofccp/.
OFCCP recently launched the Class Member Locator (CML). The purpose of the CML is to identify applicants and/or workers 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 think you may be a class member who applied between 2012 and 2014, the period of the investigation, please visit our website at http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/CML/index.htm, where you can also find information about other recent OFCCP settlements.