Data Mining Giant to Pay $1.5M to Settle Discrimination Case
More than 3,600 job former applicants to benefit
Federal contractor Westat Inc. has agreed to settle allegations that it failed to provide equal employment opportunities to 3,651 African American, Asian American, Hispanic, and female job applicants at its Rockville, Maryland, headquarters and at field sites in California, Connecticut, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina and Tennessee. The conciliation agreement entered into by Westat and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) resolves these and numerous other violations, including a failure to maintain and internally audit its own records.
“For more than 50 years, Westat has effectively harnessed the power of data to produce ground-breaking research,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “That commitment to data integrity should also be applied to its employment practices so that every worker has a fair shot at getting a good job and company leadership understands exactly who is getting hired and why.”
During a scheduled compliance review, OFCCP investigators discovered that between Oct. 1, 2008, and Sept. 30, 2009, Westat used a selection process that systematically discriminated against 2,153 African American, 825 Asian American, and 35 Hispanic job applicants for research analyst, programmer analyst, telephone data collector, and field data collector positions, as well as 638 female applicants for survey process staff positions,.
Under the terms of the settlement, Westat will pay a total of $1.5 million in back wages and interest to 3,651 affected applicants and make 113 job offers to the original class members as positions become available. The company has also agreed to preserve and maintain all employment records, correct record-keeping violations, conduct internal audits, and perform outreach and positive recruitment activities. These efforts are integral to compliance with Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
Westat is one of the leading research and statistical survey organizations in the United States. Over the past six years, the company has held more than $2.8 billion in federal contracts with agencies including the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Labor, Health and Human Services, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs.
In addition to Executive Order 11246, OFCCP enforces Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. These three laws require that those who do business with the federal government, both contractors and subcontractors, follow the fair and reasonable standard that they not discriminate in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran. For more information, click here.
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