Deere to Pay $1M in Discrimination Case

June 12, 2024
Department of Labor says Deere owes applicants back pay and interest.
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By: Gretchen Teske
Source: Quad City Times, Davenport, Iowa (TNS)

Deere & Company has been ordered to pay $1.1 million in back pay plus interest to 277 job applicants the federal government says the company racially discriminated against.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced last week it entered into a conciliation agreement with Deere & Co. to resolve alleged systemic hiring discrimination affecting Black and Hispanic applicants.

Caterpillar settled a similar case last month.

The agreement follows routine compliance evaluations by OFCCP that found hiring disparities at the company’s facilities in Milan, Ankeny and Waterloo.

Preliminary findings alleged discrimination against 33 Black and 12 Hispanic applicants for warehouse positions in Milan; 36 Black applicants for assembler positions in Ankeny; and against 196 Black applicants for production positions in Waterloo, the Labor Department said.

This practice goes against Executive Order 11246 which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating in employment based on race, sex, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin.

To resolve the allegations, Deere & Co. will pay $1,105,000 in back wages and interest to affected job applicants and provide 53 job offers to eligible class members, the Labor Department said in a press release. As part of the agreement, the company will also evaluate its personnel practices, including its recordkeeping and internal auditing procedures.

"As an equal opportunity employer, we remain steadfast in our commitment to our people and we continuously strive to ensure that our hiring and talent practices advance and champion diversity, equity and inclusion," a Deere spokesperson said Tuesday.

Deere & Co. is a contractor for federal agencies, including the departments of Agriculture, the Army, the Interior and Transportation as well as the Defense Logistics Agency and the U.S. Forest Service.

“The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to protecting America’s jobseekers from employment discrimination,” said Carmen Navarro, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Midwest regional director. “The settlement reached with Deere & Co. resolves the hiring discrimination uncovered by OFCCP and ensures actions will be taken to correct and prevent a recurrence of discrimination.”

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