Company Fined for Discriminating Against Latino Applicants


The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has entered into a consent decree with Leprino Foods Inc. to resolve charges of systemic hiring discrimination at the company’s Lemoore West facility.
According to the Labor Department, the company was fined because it attempted to weed out applicants through a hiring exam that was not job related. According to the Labor Department announcement, Leprino Foods, one of the largest producers of mozzarella cheese in the world, tested applicants’ skills in mathematics, locating information and observation – skills that are not critical to the entry-level tasks performed by on-call laborers, such as inspecting products, monitoring equipment and maintaining sanitation at the facility.
The consent decree, signed by an administrative law judge with the Labor Department, settles OFCCP’s allegations that Leprino Foods’ use of a pre-employment test called WorkKeys to select hires for on-call laborer positions resulted in discrimination against Latino, African-American and Asian-American job applicants.
OFCCP determined that Leprino Foods, headquartered in Denver, Colo., violated Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating on the bases of race, color, religion, sex and national origin in their employment practices. The agency made its findings after a scheduled compliance review in which OFCCP investigators conducted interviews, analyzed company data and reviewed documents provided by the company.
Through this review, OFCCP discovered that the administration of the WorkKeys exam had an adverse impact on minority job applicants for these specific positions. Under the terms of the consent decree, Leprino will pay $550,000 in back wages, interest and benefits to 253 minority workers who were rejected for on-call laborer positions between January 2005 and October 2006 because they failed the WorkKeys exam.
Additionally, the company has agreed to discontinue use of the test for this purpose, hire at least 13 of the original class members, undertake extensive self-monitoring measures and immediately correct any discriminatory practices.
Photo © Leprino Foods