WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- U.S. officials said Cargill Meat Solutions has agreed to pay $2.2 million in back wages to job applicants turned down through discriminatory practices.
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, a regulatory office within the Labor Department, said the company, which is based in Wichita, Kan., had agreed to pay wages to 2,959 job applicants who were turned away from jobs because of race and gender.
The company, which is part of the Cargill Inc. conglomerate, discriminated against female job applicants at facilities in Springdale, Ark., Fort Morgan, Colo., and Beardstown, Ill., between 2005 and 2009, the regulatory office said. It also discriminated against Caucasian and Hispanic applicants at Fort Morgan and African American and Caucasian applicants at Beardstown, the OFCCP said.
As part of the settlement, Cargill, which was also accused of non-compliance in its record-keeping, also agreed to offer jobs to 354 of the turned down applicants when openings at their facilities become available.
"This settlement will benefit thousands of workers who were subjected to unfair discrimination," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez in a statement.
"Discrimination should never be used to justify favoring one group of workers over others. I am pleased that Cargill has agreed to put a proactive strategy in place to address this issue through new hiring procedures and in-depth training on combating stereotypes," said OFCCP Director Patricia Shiu.