CHARLOTTE, N.C., Sept. 24 (UPI) -- A federal judge has ordered Bank of America to pay back wages to 1,147 African-Americans who were turned down for jobs at the bank's Charlotte, N.C., facility.
U.S. Department of Labor Administrative Law Judge Linda Chapman said the bank owed $964,033 to 1,034 applicants who were rejected for jobs in 1993 and $1,217,560 to 113 individuals who were rejected from 2002 to 2005.
The bank was also ordered to hire 10 members of the class action lawsuit as soon as the appropriate openings became available.
The bank was ordered to hire the 10 class members "with appropriate seniority," said the Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program, which regulates hiring with regard to discrimination in companies that are federal contractors.
Bank of America was deemed a federal contractor because it is a federally insured bank, the OFCCP said.
The agency said it began a "routine compliance review" at the bank in November 1993 that "revealed indications of systematic hiring discrimination affecting African-American jobseekers looking for work as tellers and entry level clerks at the Charlotte facility."
Efforts to reconcile the differences with the bank failed, which led the Solicitor of Labor in 1997 to file a complaint against the bank.
The award ruling "represents a major victory in a case that has spanned nearly two decades, during which Bank of America repeatedly challenged the authority of the department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs," the agency's release said.
"Wherever doors of opportunity are unfairly closed to workers, we will be there to open them -- no matter how long it takes," OFCCP Director Patricia Shiu said.