Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- A Judge with The U.S. Department of Labor has ordered Bank Of America to pay nearly $2.2 Million in restitution for Racial Discrimination against more than 1,100 black job seekers.
Judge Linda S. Chapman has ordered Bank of America Corp. to pay 1,147 black job applicants $ 2,181,593 in back wages and interest, for race-based hiring discrimination at the company's Charlotte facility.
The Department of Labor's ruling awards $964,033 to 1,034 applicants who were rejected for jobs in 1993, and awards $1,217,560 to 113 applicants rejected between 2002 and 2005.
The ruling also orders Bank of America to extend job offers, with appropriate seniority of position, to 10 individuals included in the class action, as those positions become available.
The Judge determined that the bank had applied unfair and inconsistent selection criteria in the hiring process, which resulted in the rejection of qualified black applicants for teller and entry-level clerical and administrative positions in the company.
The Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, or OFCCP, initiated routine compliance reviews in November of 1993.
Those OFCCP reviews revealed systemic hiring discrimination affecting black job seekers in the Charlotte location, and following efforts of conciliation that went nowhere, the Solicitor Of Labor filed an Administrative Complaint against the company in 1997.
The filing stated that the company had violated U.S. Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating in employment practices on the basis of race.
Bank of America, as a federally-insured financial institution that provides a variety of services and products, are a federal contractor and fall under the purview of the OFCCP.
The Department of Labor alleges that Bank of America repeatedly challenged the OFCCP's authority, and according to Solicitor of Labor M. Patricia Smith, "Our investigators and attorneys prevailed despite decades of stalling tactics."
Along with the Executive Order noted above, two additional laws: Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Vietnam Era Veteran's Readjustment Act of 1974, all fall under the enforcement of the OFCCP. All three laws require those who do business with the federal government, both contractors and subcontractors, follow a fair and reasonable standard that they no discriminate in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, nation of origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran.
"Wherever doors of opportunity are unfairly closed to workers, we will be there to open them - no matter how long it takes," said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. "Judge Chapman's decision upholds the legal principle of making victims of discrimination whole, and these workers deserve to get the full measure of what is owed to them."