The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

Small Win at Whirlpool for Minority Workers

by Brendan Coyne

Aug. 11, 2005 – Whirlpool Corporation, an appliance manufacturing giant based in Michigan, has agreed to settle a Department of Labor discrimination complaint. According to a DOL statement released Friday, the company agreed to pay $850,000 in back wages and committed to hire at least 48 of 800 qualified African-American job applicants who were denied positions in 1997 and ’98.

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The company admitted no wrongdoing, terming the failure to hire any of the hundreds of African-Americans who applied for jobs with the company’s Oklahoma plant "inadvertent."

In a statement released yesterday, a company vice president said, "Despite the government’s recent findings about the Tulsa division’s hiring practices used eight years ago, we have a long history of clear, observable diversity in our workforce."

Whirlpool blames the apparent discrimination on an employment test it no longer uses. But last week’s settlement does not end the charges of corporate discrimination.

A two-year-old lawsuit brought by fifteen employees charges that Whirlpool fosters an atmosphere of racial intimidation. Fellow workers have come forth to corroborate many of the suit’s claims, including frequent and accepted use of the word "nigger" on the shop floor and racist graffiti on the walls, The Tennessean reported last month.

Less than a year ago, a group of Muslim employees filed a lawsuit against Whirlpool for religious discrimination. The workers charged that supervisors at a Tennessee plant refused to allow them prayer breaks. Their complaint failed in court.

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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.


Brendan Coyne is a contributing journalist.

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