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Federal contractor Fastenal fined $1.3 million over race, sex bias


A Minnesota fastener company has agreed to pay $1.3 million to settle charges by the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance that it discriminated against 171 black and female job applicants who sought general warehouse positions at two of its distribution facilities in Indianapolis and Atlanta.

The OFCCP said in a statement issued last week that Winona, Minnesota-based Fastenal Co., which it said is a federal contractor and North America’s leading distribution of fastening products, also allegedly destroyed or failed to provide various employment records from both facilities in an alleged attempt to hinder the investigation.

Under terms of the settlement the company will pay $1.3 million in back wages and interest to 7,398 African American and 1,055 female job applicants in the affected class. It has also committed to hiring 154 African Americans and 17 female class members.

The company did not admit liability. The violations allegedly occurred while Fastenal received more than $35 million in government contracts for its products, the DOL said in its statement.

“Fastenal has taken a step in the right direction by working closely with our agency to resolve these issues,” said OFCCP Director Patricia Shiu in the statement. “Together, we will ensure that the company continues to maintain all required employment records and only uses employment tests that are job related to the position for which they are applying.”

A company spokesman could not be reached for comment.

In 2014, a Cleveland-based welding equipment manufacturer, Lincoln Electric Co., agreed to pay $1 million to settle OFCCP charges that it discriminated against job applicants on the basis of race.

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