- Microsoft has agreed to pay $3 million in back pay and interest to 1229 applicants to resolve allegations of discriminatory hiring practices by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), the division announced Sept. 18.
- OFCCP said it found hiring discrimination against Asian, African American and Hispanic applicants in positions ranging from premier field engineer to solutions specialists to software engineering during routine compliance evaluations. The agency alleged that the federal contractor’s actions violated an executive order that forbids contractors from discriminating in employment.
- While not admitting error or liability, Microsoft agreed to, among other things, proactively enhance future compliance.
OFCCP enforcement collections hit a record high last year, the agency said, and claims continue. Bank of America, Dell and Goldman Sachs entered into settlements totaling $20 million resolving pay discrimination claims last year; uniform and facilities management company Cintas also settled hiring discrimination claims.
In addition to this settlement with Microsoft, OFCCP also entered into an agreement in August with Wells Fargo that called for the financial services giant to make almost 600 job offers to applicants and pay $7.8 million in back wages and interest to settle allegations that the company discriminated against 34,193 African American applicants in several types of positions and 308 female applicants in administrative support positions.
OFCCP enforces laws that make it illegal for federal contractors and subcontractors to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or veteran status. Federal contractors and subcontractors employ nearly 25% of America's workforce, according to OFCCP.
Although there was a belief that under the Trump Administration, the office would be less likely to play "gotcha" with federal contractors, OFCCP has continued to reach settlements with companies over alleged discriminatory practices in several areas, including both hiring and pay.
Experts have recommended several steps that employers can take to eliminate bias in hiring, including creating diverse hiring panels, establishing a set of standardized interview questions and temporarily removing identifying information in resumes and applications.