U.S. Department of Labor and Microsoft Corp. Enter Agreement to Resolve Alleged Hiring Discrimination Affecting 1,229 Applicants in Four States
DALLAS, TX – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and Microsoft Corp. U.S. have entered into an early resolution conciliation agreement (ERCA) to resolve alleged hiring discrimination practices at its facilities in Irving, Texas; Redmond, Washington; New York, New York; and Cambridge, Massachusetts.
During routine compliance evaluations, OFCCP found hiring disparities against Asian applicants from Dec. 5, 2015, through May 31, 2017, for Premier Field Engineer positions; from Dec. 1, 2014, through May 31, 2016, for the Solution Specialists positions; and from Dec. 1, 2017, through Nov. 30, 2018, for Developer II positions. OFCCP also found hiring disparities against African American and Hispanic applicants for Software Engineering positions from Dec. 1, 2012, through May 14, 2014. The agency alleged that the federal contractor’s actions at those 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.
Under the agreement, Microsoft will pay $3 million in back pay and interest to 1,229 affected applicants. While not admitting liability in the investigation, Microsoft agreed to an ERCA and to enhance future compliance proactively.
“This resolution will further the goal of equal employment opportunity by Microsoft partnering with the U.S. Department of Labor,” said Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Regional Director Melissa Speer, in Dallas, Texas. “The Department is committed to resolving issues by working with proactive employers.”
“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.
In November 2018, OFCCP issued a directive establishing Early Resolution Procedures (ERP), launching an initiative to promote early and efficient resolution of supply and service compliance evaluations. These procedures allow OFCCP and contractors with multiple establishments to cooperatively implement corporate-wide compliance with OFCCP’s regulatory requirements and efficiently resolve identified issues. In turn, contractors are exempt from future OFCCP evaluations for five years. This conciliation agreement with Microsoft resulted from the ERP directive.
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 launched the Class Member Locator (CML) 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 https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ofccp/classmembers, where you can also find information about other recent OFCCP settlements.