"Steering" Is 2014's New Twist On Discrimination

What is Steering?

"Steering" may be charged when people in a protected class are "steered" to jobs with lower long-term potential than other similar jobs. For example: in a grocery store, women may be steered to entry-level jobs in the floral department while men are steered to jobs in the meat department. Initially, both jobs pay the same, but the advancement opportunities are significantly greater in the meat department. That is viewed as discrimination by steering!

In 2014, the Department of Labor (DOL), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) are expected to pay close attention to steering.

Steering Action Discriminates Against Both Men and Women!

A recent case of blatant steering was recently settled by the DOL. G&K Services Co. settled claims of pay and hiring discrimination by agreeing to pay $265,983.00 in back pay to 59 women who were "steered" into lower-paying jobs regardless of their qualifications.

But the company also discriminated against men at the same time, because male applicants were considered only for the higher-paying jobs. And that's going to cost G&K Services another $23,968.00.

During a compliance evaluation, the OFCCP determined that G&K Services had a practice of assigning laundry workers to different tasks and different pay rates on the basis of gender. Specifically, the OFCCP found that female employees who had been hired as general laborers were assigned to "light-duty" jobs that paid less than the "heavy-duty" jobs involving similar work and qualifications, which the company reserved for men.

In an interesting twist, the same practice was found to discriminate against men. Investigators also found that male applicants were frequently denied the option to compete for a majority of the open laborer opportunities during the review period because the company only considered them for so-called heavy-duty work.

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Who audits first - YOU or the Government? (Hint: You don't want it to be the government)!

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