Photo courtesy of Ingalls Shipbuilding
A Mississippi shipyard has agreed to settle with the U.S. Department of Labor following alleged discrimination violations, but they continue to deny the claims.
Huntington Ingalls’ Pascagoula Shipyard will pay $159,050 in back wages and interest following “allegations of systemic hiring discrimination violations” stemming from a compliance evaluation by the DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).
The OFCCP alleged that, “beginning in 2011, Huntington Ingalls Inc. discriminated in its hiring and selection process against 80 African-Americans who applied for helper laborer positions at its Pascagoula, Mississippi, shipyard. Investigators also found the company used a pipefitter helper assessment as a prerequisite for continuing in the hiring process.” According to the OFCCP, “Ingalls used the assessment even though it was not supported by a validation study that satisfies the requirements of the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures.”
In a statement, Ingalls explained that they strongly deny the allegations and the settlement was agreed upon without any admission of guilt. The statement goes on to say that Ingalls remains committed to equal employment opportunities for all.
“The OFCCP began a routine audit of Ingalls Shipbuilding’s employment practices more than six years ago. The audit reviewed hiring in 134 different job positions and considered more than 13,000 discrete employment applications between November 1, 2011, through October 31, 2012. The OFCCP’s conciliation agreement alleges that Ingalls had a statistical shortfall of six African-Americans applicants in one job position (Helper/Laborer). Ingalls strongly denies that it discriminated against any of these applicants in the hiring process. To bring the audit to a close, however, Ingalls has agreed to settle the matter without admitting to any violation of law. Ingalls is committed to equal employment in its hiring and other employment practices.” – Huntington Ingalls Inc.
According to the Department of Labor, Ingalls has also agreed to make job offers to six eligible class members who express an interest in employment and meet qualifications.
To ensure future compliance, the company will also evaluate and revise its job descriptions, as necessary. Ingalls will also work to ensure that it trains personnel involved with hiring and selection processes to safeguard non-discriminatory practices.
Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. is a military shipbuilder and federal contactor based in Newport News, Virginia.