US Labor Department recovers more than $1.8 million
for employees and job applicants at G&K Services
Systemic hiring, pay discrimination found at laundry facilities across the country
SAN FRANCISCO — The U.S. Department of Labor has reached a settlement with nine facilities of G&K Services, Inc., to remedy systemic hiring and pay discrimination violations identified in compliance evaluations initiated between 2011 and 2015. G&K Services has several federal contracts, which requires the company to adhere to nondiscrimination and affirmative action provisions under Executive Order 11246.
A compliance review by the department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs found that G&K discriminated against 444 female employees in laborer positions by disproportionately assigning them to lower paying job duties while filling the higher paying job duties predominantly with men, even though female employees were qualified for and able to perform the higher paying jobs.
“When you accept taxpayer dollars, you are held to the highest employment standards,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “Workers should be judged on their skills and qualifications, not on their gender or any other arbitrary measure. We will not tolerate employment discrimination by companies that do business with the federal government.”
OFCCP determined that this practice of steering women into the lower paying “light duty” jobs led to unlawful sex-based pay discrimination at G&K facilities in Denver; Sacramento, California; Graham and Charlotte, North Carolina; Pleasant Hill, Iowa; Justice, Illinois; St. Paul, Minnesota; and Houston and Coppell, Texas. This practice also resulted in a lower hiring rate for 2,327 male applicants who were equally or more qualified for general laborer positions at the Sacramento, Pleasant Hill, Justice, St. Paul and Coppell locations.
OFCCP also found that G&K failed to provide equal opportunity to 456 African American and 111 Caucasian applicants at its Houston and Charlotte locations when hiring for general laborer positions.
“This settlement demonstrates how the U.S. Labor Department can uncover patterns of workplace discrimination by federal contractors that transcend a single location, which may affect a large number of workers,” said Patricia Shiu, Director of OFCCP. “G&K has agreed to fully cooperate to remedy past violations and ensure its selection and placement practices at these facilities are in full compliance with the law going forward. Together, we can achieve the common goal of equal employment opportunities and nondiscrimination in pay for all employees and applicants.”
Under the terms of the agreement, G&K, while denying liability, has agreed to pay a total of $1,813,555 to members of the affected classes in the conciliation agreement. The contractor has also agreed to extend 78 job opportunities to the male, black and white applicants who were not hired, and 58 opportunities for the female employees to move into higher paying positions.
The agreement also requires G&K to undertake a detailed assessment of its hiring, placement and compensation practices, and its job postings and other documents to ensure they provide equal opportunity and do not discriminate on the basis of sex or race. G&K will be required to conduct regular adverse impact and compensation analyses at the locations where OFCCP found violations, and will report regularly to the agency during the monitoring period on its fulfillment of these obligations.
G&K Services, Inc. provides branded uniform and facility services products including traction control products, towel products, microfiber, wet mops, fender covers, linen items and restroom hygiene products.
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 make it illegal for contractors and subcontractors doing business with the federal government to discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. For more information, please call OFCCP’s toll-free helpline at 800-397-6251 or visit http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/.
OFCCP recently launched the Class Member Locator (CML). The purpose of the CML is to identify applicants and/or workers who have been impacted by OFCCP’s compliance evaluations and complaint investigations and who may be entitled to a portion of monetary relief and/or consideration for job placement. If you think you may be one of the workers eligible for back pay or job opportunities from this settlement, or may know someone who is, please visit the OFCCP Class Member Locator at http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/cml, where you can also find information about other OFCCP settlements.