More than 200 women applicants affected; complaint seeks back wages, job opportunities
The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs is suing federal contractor Brunswick Corp. and Lund Boat Co., a wholly-owned subsidiary. In an administrative complaint filed today with the department's Office of Administrative Law Judges, OFCCP asserts that the companies systematically discriminated against more than 200 women who applied for entry-level positions at Lund's boat manufacturing plant in New York Mills, Minn.
"Representatives from Lund have argued that women were less likely to be hired than men because of a preference for workers with manufacturing experience," said Solicitor of Labor M. Patricia Smith. "However, OFCCP's investigation found that even women with this type of experience were less likely to be hired than men without it. That's not fair. It's not right. And it's against the law."
Under Executive Order 11246, federal contractors are required to ensure that qualified job applicants receive equal consideration for employment without regard to their sex. OFCCP's complaint requests that Lund and Brunswick provide financial remedies — including lost wages, interest and benefits — to the women affected by the discriminatory practices. Furthermore, the agency asks that job offers be extended to at least 27 women in the original group of applicants. Finally, the suit asks that the companies be prohibited from extending or modifying current government contracts and from entering into future contracts until they have remedied these violations.
"Brunswick's Chairman and CEO, Dustan McCoy, has stated a commitment to acting ethically," said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. "By his own words, 'Acting ethically simply means that we do what is right in all situations.' So, we ask him now to do what is right for the women who sought a fair shot at employment with his company and for the taxpayers who deserve to know that their money is never used to discriminate."
Based in Lake Forest, Ill., Brunswick is a leading provider of marine, athletic and recreational products. Lund serves as the corporation's boat manufacturing division. In the past two years alone, Brunswick held federal contracts totaling almost $23 million with agencies including the U.S. Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, among others.
In addition to Executive Order 11246, OFCCP enforces Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. As amended, these three laws require those who do business with the federal government, both contractors and subcontractors, follow the fair and reasonable standard that they not discriminate in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. For general information, call OFCCP's toll-free helpline at 1-800-397-6251 or visit its website at http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/.