Because the company holds a federal contract (with the U.S. Agriculture Department), my agency, the department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, is responsible for enforcing fair hiring and employment practices at the Los Angeles plant where these ballpark dogs and other products are made.
When they sign on the dotted line, federal contractors agree that they will take affirmative action in their employment practices and won’t discriminate. This means all federal contracts require the fair and equal treatment of workers and job applicants – regardless of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran.
But in the case of Clougherty, we found that, over a two-year period, nearly 2,000 women who applied for entry-level positions were rejected in favor of men − despite being qualified.
As a result of our review, Clougherty has agreed to pay $439,538 in back wages to the qualified female applicants who were denied jobs, the majority of whom are Latina. The company, which is a subsidiary of Hormel Foods Corp., also will make 700 job offers to women who were qualified but not hired at the company’s Los Angeles meatpacking plant.
And to make sure that its hiring practices fully comply with the law, Clougherty has agreed to undertake extensive self-monitoring measures. We’ll be checking, too.
I hope this settlement can provide a little financial help and a whole lot of justice for the women who were denied a fair shot at employment. Moreover, I am glad we were able to work with Clougherty to make sure that there will be greater opportunities for women to get jobs going forward.
For more information about the laws enforced by OFCCP, call the agency’s toll-free helpline at 800-397-6251 or visit www.dol.gov/ofccp.
Patricia A. Shiu is the director of the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.