Bank of America's corporate headquarters in Charlotte, N.C.(Photo: Chuck Burton, AP)
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Bank of America has been ordered to pay nearly $2.2 million in restitution for discriminating against more than 1,100 black job seekers.
Judge Linda S. Chapman of the U.S. Department of Labor has ordered the bank to pay 1,147 African American job applicants $2,181,593 in back wages and interest, for race-based hiring discrimination at the company's Charlotte, N.C., facility.
The Department of Labor's ruling awards $964,033 to 1,034 applicants who were rejected for jobs in 1993, and awards $1,217,560 to 113 applicants rejected between 2002 and 2005.
The ruling also orders Bank of America to extend job offers, with appropriate seniority of position, to 10 individuals included in the class action, as those positions become available.
The judge determined that the bank had applied unfair and inconsistent selection criteria in the hiring process, which resulted in the rejection of qualified black applicants for teller and entry-level clerical and administrative positions in the company.
"Judge Chapman's decision upholds the legal principle of making victims of discrimination whole, and these workers deserve to get the full measure of what is owed to them," said Patricia A. Shiu, director of the Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs initiated routine compliance reviews in November 1993.
Those reviews revealed systemic hiring discrimination affecting black job seekers in the Charlotte location, and following efforts of conciliation that went nowhere, the Solicitor of Labor filed an administrative complaint against the company in 1997.
The filing stated that Bank of America had violated an executive order, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating in employment practices on the basis of race.
Bank of America, as a federally-insured financial institution that provides a variety of services and products, is a federal contractor and falls under the purview of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.
The Department of Labor alleges that Bank of America repeatedly challenged the contract compliance programs' authority.
"Our investigators and attorneys prevailed despite decades of stalling tactics," said Solicitor of Labor M. Patricia Smith.