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Hiring bias costs Dallas defense contractor $1.5 million

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Hiring,Human Resources

Defense contractor Vought Aircraft recently agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle a discrimination lawsuit brought by more than 1,000 job applicants.

The settlement comes as a result of charges brought by the U.S. Department of Labor that the aircraft parts manufacturer discriminated against minorities and women in hiring. Specifically, the DOL alleged that the Dallas-based company disproportionately failed to hire black and Asian men, in addition to women of any race. A DOL representative said the applicants had applied for assembly trainee and aircraft assembly beginner jobs.

Under the terms of the consent decree, Vought will pay $1.4 million in back wages and interest to 1,045 job applicants. In addition, the company will pay approximately $70,000 for applicants interested in taking an aircraft assembly training program that will produce 35 applicant hires.

Following the settlement, Vought issued a statement saying the charges stemmed from hiring decisions made in 2004 and 2005 when it had been using a test the DOL claimed resulted in relatively few minority and female hires. Since then the company has modified its screening procedures and had agreed to undertake extensive self-monitoring measurements for two years to ensure that its hiring practices comply with federal law.

Tip: Employers should monitor employment test results to ensure the tests do not create barriers to disabled, minority or female applicants. All employment tests should test the applicant’s ability to perform the job’s essential functions. Testing for anything else risks charges of discrimination.

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