DOL Files Discrimination Suit Against Baltimore-Based Federal Contractor
The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) has filed a lawsuit before the Office of Administrative Law Judges against WMS Solutions LLC (“WMS”) alleging violations of Executive Order 11246. Executive Order 11246 prohibits discrimination in employment by federal contractors on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, and national origin, and provides greater protections than those provided under federal law.
WMS is a Baltimore-based asbestos removal and demolition company. According to a DOL press release, “[t]he company provides laborers to federal contractors performing construction work on projects in the Washington, D.C., area.” According to DOL, the company has received over $6 million in federal contracts.
DOL alleges that since February 2011, WMS favored hiring Hispanic laborers and denied jobs to other qualified workers on the basis of race and ethnicity. Additionally, the Company allegedly “underpaid female workers and assigned fewer work hours” to individuals on the basis of race and gender.
For the Hispanic employees that WMS did hire, the DOL alleges that WMS supervisors harassed those workers at its job sites. For example, the DOL alleges that “supervisors intimidated laborers with videos of detained and deported Hispanic workers.” OFFCP Director Patricia Shiu said in a statement that the OFCCP has “taken action on behalf of these workers,” and “is prepared to use every tool at its disposal to ensure that no federal contractors and subcontractors engage in discrimination or harassment.”
DOL states that prior to filing its complaint it attempted to negotiate a settlement with WMS. However, WMS and the OFCCP were unable to agree to the terms, which the DOL states would include back pay wages and interest, extending job offers to rejected applicants, and stopping any workplace harassment.