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Caterpillar to pay $800K to settle discrimination charge with Labor Dept.

May 21 (UPI) -- Caterpillar has agreed to pay $800,000 in back wages and interest to settle an alleged systemic hiring discrimination charge involving 60 Black applicants who sought work at its facility in Decatur, Ill., the Labor Department said Tuesday.

The department said that during a routine compliance review by its Office of the Federal Compliance Programs found that the heavy equipment manufacturer discriminated against Blacks who applied for fabrication specialist/welder positions at the Decatur facility from March 30, 2018, to March 30, 2020.

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The conciliation agreement guaranteed that Caterpillar will provide training about discriminatory practices to all managers, supervisors and other company officials who oversee hiring decisions.

"Over the past 58 years, OFCCP has helped define and defend equal employment opportunities in the American workplace," Michelle Hodge, acting director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, said in a statement.

"Companies that accept federal contracts must monitor their hiring processes to ensure applicants are not rejected based on unlawful practices."

Carmen Navarro, regional director of the OFCCP's Chicago office, said the resolution of its conflict with Caterpillar is an example of its efforts to address discrimination issues with companies receiving government contracts.

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Since 2018, Caterpillar has signed federal contracts totaling $481 million to provide machinery to the U.S. Army.

"This agreement provides meaningful compensation and job opportunities to affected individuals and aims to ensure that all applicants, irrespective of their race, are considered equally for employment."

According to its website, Caterpillar's sales and revenue reached $67.1 billion in 2023 as the world's leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, and industrial gas turbines.

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