Coca-Cola Settles Gender and Race Discrimination Case in Louisiana
August 11, 2005

Harahan, La.— The U.S. Department of Labor announced today that the Louisiana Coca-Cola Bottling Company in Harahan has agreed to settle findings of hiring discrimination against 800 female and minority job applicants. The company will pay the applicants a total of $340,000 in back wages as part of the settlement.

During a routine investigation of the Coca-Cola establishment, the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) found that the company failed to uniformly apply selection criteria to applicants without regard to gender and race. After a thorough review of the company’s hiring practices, OFCCP determined that females and minorities applying for merchandiser positions were unlawfully screened out by the company’s hiring process.

The settlement agreement alleges Coca-Cola engaged in hiring discrimination during the period from Jan. 1, 2002 to Dec. 31, 2003 even though the company does not admit liability. In addition to paying the back wages, Coca-Cola will hire 42 of the rejected female and minority applicants. Coca-Cola, a beverage manufacturer, contracts with the U.S. Defense Commissary Agency.

“Federal contractors should take note that OFCCP will aggressively pursue enforcement actions where the Department’s efforts to achieve voluntary compliance settlements fail,” said Charles E. James Sr., OFCCP deputy assistant secretary for federal contract compliance. “Employers are encouraged to follow the law and take proactive steps to prevent workplace discrimination.”

OFCCP, an agency of the U.S. Labor Department’s Employment Standards Administration, enforces Executive Order 11246 and other laws that prohibit employment discrimination by federal contractors. The agency monitors federal contractors to ensure they provide equal employment opportunities without regard to race, gender, color, religion, national origin, disability or veterans’ status.

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