Caterpillar to Pay $800K to Resolve Hiring Discrimination Allegations

Cat Mining Truck and wheel loader
Caterpillar's Decatur facility, where the hiring discrimination allegations occurred, produces large mining trucks.
Caterpillar

Caterpillar has agreed to pay $800,000 in back wages and interest to resolve alleged systemic hiring discrimination against Black applicants at its Decatur, Illinois, production facility, according to a May 21 release from the U.S. Department of Labor.

In addition, the manufacturer must offer jobs to 34 eligible class members, ensure its hiring policies and procedures are free from discrimination, and provide training to all company employees who oversee hiring decisions.

The DOL said during a routine compliance review it found that Caterpillar discriminated against 60 Black applicants for fabrication specialist/welder positions at its Decatur facility from March 30, 2018, to March 30, 2020. This is a violation of Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating in employment based on race, sex, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin. 

Since 2018, Caterpillar has received more than $481 million in federal contracts to produce machinery for the U.S. Army.

“Over the past 58 years, OFCCP has helped define and defend equal employment opportunity in the American workplace. We are committed to tackling employment policies and practices that create barriers to opportunity and perpetuate inequality,” said Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Acting Director Michele Hodge. “Companies that accept federal contracts must monitor their hiring processes to ensure applicants are not rejected based on unlawful practices.” 

“Our agreement with Caterpillar exemplifies the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ commitment to addressing and remedying preliminary indicators of discrimination in our compliance evaluations,” said Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Regional Director Carmen Navarro in Chicago. “This agreement provides meaningful compensation and job opportunities to affected individuals and aims to ensure that all applicants, irrespective of their race, are considered equally for employment.”

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The department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs launched the Class Member Locator to identify applicants or workers who may be entitled to monetary relief and/or consideration for job placement as a result of compliance evaluations and complaint investigations.