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Defense firm pays $100,000 to settle race bias claim

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Hiring,Human Resources

Aerospace and defense contractor ATK has agreed to pay a job applicant $100,000 after she complained about discriminatory hiring practices at the company’s Eden Prairie plant.

The woman, who is black, applied for an IT support position that would have had her working directly with ATK executives. Company officials initially told her she had the job, but then retracted the offer and hired a white man instead.

She filed a complaint with the EEOC, which investigated and concluded that ATK probably rejected the woman because of her skin color. When ATK denied the charges, the EEOC sued on the woman’s behalf. That’s when ATK elected to settle instead of going to trial.

In addition to the monetary set­tlement, the company agreed to a three-year consent decree under which it will review its workplace policies to ensure compliance with Title VII and related record-keeping rules, including a requirement to maintain notes taken during the job interview process.

ATK also agreed to provide anti-discrimination training to staff in Min­­ne­­sota and at the company’s headquarters in Virginia.

Advice: Thorough documentation makes employer practices transparent. In this case, the company apparently failed to keep notes when it was interviewing candidates. Thoroughly document each hiring decision—and each no-hire decision—to show that your process was designed to find the best candidate, not weed out members of protected classes.

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