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Thursday, 12 May 2016 13:56

Gordon Food Service reaches $1.85 million settlement with U.S. Department of Labor

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WYOMING — Gordon Food Service Inc. (GFS) yesterday reached a $1.85 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor over discriminatory hiring practices.

According to a statement from the DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), the Wyoming-based food distribution company “systematically discriminated against 926 qualified women seeking entry-level warehouse laborer jobs.”

Per the terms of the settlement, GFS will pay $1.85 million to the female applicants and hire 37 female applicants.

Additionally, the company agrees to stop using a strength test for applicants, found by the government agency to be a discriminatory practice.

The OFCCP said in the statement that GFS used the tests to discriminate against female applicants at warehouse facilities in Grand Rapids and Brighton, as well as in Wisconsin and Kentucky.

The federal government investigators found that GFS only hired six females compared to about 300 males during the period of investigation.

“Too often we find ‘tests’ like the one used in this case that exclude workers from jobs that they can in fact perform,” said Patricia A. Shiu, director of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs in a statement. “In this case, women were denied good-paying jobs. We are making sure that these women are compensated and that some are able to get the work they sought when positions become available.”

The OFCCP reports that since 2010 the company has been awarded approximately $4.5 million in federal government contracts.

As North America’s largest family-owned food distribution company, Gordon Food Service reported revenues of $11.7 billion in 2015 according to a report in Forbes.

This settlement isn’t the first time Gordon Food Service has found itself the target of an investigation for discriminatory hiring practices.

In 2007 the company settled for $450,000 over similar allegations.

According to a statement released by the company, Gordon Food Service said it has begun implementing better processes such as centralization of recruiting to “ensure a fair and objective process that eliminates the presumption of bias.

“We value our diverse workforce, knowing that it reflects the increasing diversity of our customers, suppliers and consumers,” the company said in a statement. “As an employer of choice in the communities where we operate, we recognize the importance of providing a workplace free from unlawful discrimination.”

Read 1916 times Last modified on Thursday, 12 May 2016 14:02
Nick Manes

Staff writer

[email protected]

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