One of the largest manufacturers of mozorrella cheese has settled a complaint by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs of systemic hiring discrimination at one of its facilities.
The OFCCP said in a press release that Leprino Foods settled the government’s allegations that its use of a pre-employment test called WorkKeys to select hires for on-call laborer positions resulted in discrimination against African-American job applicants and applicants of Asian and Hispanic descent.
According the OFCCP, which enforces nondiscrimination requirements against federal contractors and subcontractors, the administration of the WorkKeys exam had an adverse impact on minority job applicants for these specific positions. The agency further determined that the exam was not job-related, as it 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.
Under the terms of the settlement, 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.
Leprino Foods is one of the largest producers of mozzarella cheese in the world and is based in Denver, Colo., the OFCCP said. Since 2005, the company has received contracts totaling nearly $50 million from U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Services Agency to provide mozzarella and other dairy products to the federal government.
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