Whirlpool Corp. will pay $850,000 to settle claims by the Labor Department that the company discriminated against 800 black job applicants. The company also will offer jobs to 48 rejected applicants.
Department investigators found, during a routine federal contract compliance evaluation, that the company’s hiring practices disproportionately disqualified blacks applying for entry-level assembler positions or promotions at the company’s Tulsa manufacturing facility.
The key was a multiple-choice screening test that eliminated from job consideration a higher percentage of black applicants than those from other groups. Whirlpool used the test from March 1, 1997, to Feb. 28, 1998.
“We’ve learned from this unique situation. We have since taken steps to carefully evaluate all hiring practices and recommendations to ensure fairness to all potential employees,” David A. Binkley, the company’s senior vice president of global human resources, said in a statement. Whirlpool admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement.