September 12, 2011

OFCCP SUES LEPRINO FOOD FOR ADVERSE IMPACT AGAINST BLACK, ASIAN & HISPANIC APPLICANTS

by Art Gutman Ph.D., Professor, Florida Institute of Technology

The suit, announced on September 1, 2011, seeks back pay, interest for at least 270 class members and job offers for at least 17 of the original applicants under the threat of cancellation of existing contracts and debarment from future contracts. Leprino Foods is the largest producer of mozzarella and whey products to the Farm Services Agency and has contracts totaling 5 million dollars. At issue is a job skills assessment called WorkKeys. According to the OFCCP the selection rate based on this assessment over a 22-month period was 49% for minority applicants as compared to 72% for non-minority applicants. WorkKeys, according to the company, assesses applied math, workplace observation, and information location skills, which are purported to be essential for on-call laborers that perform a variety of entry-level tasks such as inspecting products, monitoring equipment, and maintaining sanitation at the facility. According to OFCCP Direct Shiu “Leprino Foods’ hiring process simply doesn’t pass the sniff test.” It should be interesting to see what ALJ assigned to this case thinks of “sniffing” out workplace discrimination.

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