The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) announced that it has reached a settlement with Lincoln Electric, Inc. on behalf of 5557 black workers who the OFCCP alleges were discriminatorily not hired. In addition to paying $1 million, the company has agreed to offer entry-level jobs to 48 members of the class as the jobs become available.
The OFCCP, a division of the Department of Labor which addresses discrimination issues with federal contractors, has had Lincoln Electric in its sights for quite a while. According to the OFCCP press release announcing the settlement, this is the second $1 million dollar settlement in eleven years.
One would think that one seven-figure settlement for discriminatory hiring practices would be enough to cause a serious review of those practices. We’re not sure what happened here, but rest assured, if a governmental agency has just entered into huge settlement of a discrimination case, that employer is going to be on the radar for a while.
There are plenty of reasons to settle a case, even where the employer has not done anything wrong, including trying to avoid the hassles of litigation. Just a quick reminder to employers before they put those cases to bed, it is a good idea to review whatever process or issue was in question and make changes even though that case is now going away. After all, you would not ignore a leaky faucet just because you got a new sink.