On September 23, 2013, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced that an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) ordered a $2.2 million payment by Bank of America Corp. to 1,147 African American applicants following a 20-year legal battle. The news release can be found at: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/ofccp/OFCCP20131967.htm.
The OFCCP’s case against Bank of America began in 1993, prior to Bank of America’s ownership of NationsBank, with a compliance review at the company’s Charlotte, NC facility. In 1994, following an on-site review, the OFCCP claimed to find evidence of race-based hiring discrimination against minorities for entry-level positions. During this compliance review, two other NationsBank locations were scheduled for compliance reviews in Florida and South Carolina. NationsBank refused to comply with these reviews and in March of 1995, filed for an injunction, stating that the additional reviews were a violation of their fourth amendment rights against unreasonable searches.
NationsBank was granted a temporary injunction after they amended their complaint to include the review of the Charlotte location. The injunction kept OFCCP from proceeding with enforcement actions. On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals granted summary judgment to the OFCCP. In 1999, after the Supreme Court declined to review the case, the OFCCP filed an administrative complaint against NationsBank. Bank of America, the new owner, filed a counterclaim again stating the agency violated its fourth amendment rights by selecting the Charlotte facility for a review. In 2000, an ALJ found that the OFCCP had violated the fourth amendment because the decision to review the Charlotte facility was not based on neutral criteria.
In 2003, an Administrative Review Board (ARB) reversed this decision, stating that by complying with the initial request, the bank had waived their fourth amendment claim by consenting to the search. In 2010, the ALJ in the current case, found Bank of America liable for hiring discrimination against African-Americans applying for entry level positions in 1993 and 2002-2005. The ALJ ordered Bank of America to pay $964,033 to 1,034 applicants rejected for positions in 1993, pay $1,217,560 to 113 applicants rejected in 2002-2005, and make job offers with the appropriate seniority to 10 members of the class.
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