In a rare case, last week the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced an audit settlement with federal contractor Goodwill Industries of Southern California in a matter alleging systemic discrimination against men.   In a statement, OFCCP stated “Goodwill’s hiring process favored female applicants for entry-level positions as attendants at local donation centers, in part because of perceptions that women have better customer service skills.”

While denying discrimination, Goodwill agreed to pay $130,970 in back wages to two hundred (200) unsuccessful male applicants and to make eighteen (18) job offers to qualified men who had been previously rejected.

The lesson here is that it is important for federal contractors to pay attention to statistically significant hiring disparities against both women and men, and that they are prepared, if audited or otherwise challenged on their hiring practices, to defend their hiring criteria as job-related and consistent with business necessity.

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