- Uniform and facilities management company Cintas Corp. has agreed to pay $424,463 in back pay and interest to settle discrimination claims brought by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
- The agency's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) alleged that Cintas violated Executive Order 11246 by discriminating against black and male applicants for garment inspector/hanger positions. It also discriminated against female production workers with regard to their pay and against minority applicants for sales representative positions, OFCCP said.
- In addition to the monetary settlement, Cintas also must provide job opportunities to two eligible applicants, revise and monitor its hiring and pay processes and keep OFCCP updated on its compliance with the executive order.
Similar to the Civil Rights Act of 1964's mandates for private employers, Executive Order 11246 prohibits federal contractors and certain federally assisted construction contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of protected characteristics.
The order also requires government contractors to take affirmative action to ensure that equal opportunity is provided in all aspects of employment. It also contains an anti-retaliation provision prohibiting federal contractors and subcontractors from, in certain cases, taking adverse employment actions against applicants and employees for asking about, discussing or sharing information about their pay or the pay of their co‐workers.
OFCCP updated its sex discrimination regulations in recent years, permitting those who believe they are experiencing pay bias to compare certain factors when men and women are working in different, though similar, jobs. Factors to be used in assessing similarity include tasks performed, skills and effort needed, level of responsibility, minimum qualifications, job difficulty and working conditions. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, this change is expected to increase pay bias claims.
And while the Cintas allegations focus on mandates for contractors, they carry an important reminder for all employers about "reverse" discrimination. While many claims focus on discrimination against female and minority workers, employers must take care to avoid any discrimination on the basis of sex or race. Courts have in recent months, advanced several lawsuits filed by male and white workers alleging discrimination.