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Ohio: Employer Settles Second OFCCP Hiring Discrimination Charge

 By Susan R. Heylman  6/27/2014
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Lincoln Electric Co. has agreed to settle charges of race-based hiring discrimination following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) finding that the company, a federal contractor, violated Executive Order 11246 by using a hiring process that resulted in systemic discrimination against thousands of black job applicants at its Cleveland, Ohio facility.  

Under the terms of the conciliation agreement, which was announced June 12, 2014, Lincoln Electric agreed to pay $1 million in back wages and interest to 5,557 rejected job applicants and to offer entry-level positions to 48 class members as those positions become available.

According to the Department of Labor, the charges stemmed from a scheduled compliance review. During the review, OFCCP determined that Lincoln Electric’s paper and online application systems created multiple barriers for African-Americans to advance in the selection process. In addition, the employer’s application and post-application tests were not properly supported by a validation study that satisfied the requirements of the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures.

Lincoln Electric, which is headquartered in Cleveland, has more than 40 manufacturing locations, including operations and joint ventures in 20 countries. Since 2005, the company has held more than $2 million in federal contracts to manufacture welding, cutting, and joining products for the federal government.  

The Department of Labor cited the company for the same violation more than 10 years ago when an OFCCP investigation found that the company had discriminated in hiring against minorities and women who applied for entry-level factory jobs. That charge was settled by a 2003 conciliation agreement that also provided $1 million in back pay and interest to the affected workers.

Susan R. Heylman, J.D., is a freelance legal writer and editor based in the Washington, D.C., area.



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