The U.S. Department of Labor alleges Leprino Foods Co. discriminated against qualified African-American, Asian and Hispanic applicants for on-call laborer positions at the company’s Lemoore West facility, the Associated Press reported on September 2, 2011. The federal agency’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has filed a complaint with the department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges against the federal contractor and asked that Leprino not hold federal contracts until the complaint is resolved.
The administrative complaint seeks back wages and interest for at least 270 people, in addition to job offers for at least 17 of the original applicants, according to the AP. The Central Valley Business Times said that data collected from the company showed that Leprino’s use of a job skills assessment adversely affected minority applicants. A review of hiring practices for a 22-month period showed that only 49 percent of otherwise qualified minority applicants passed the exam, compared with more than 72 percent of non-minority applicants.
Denver-based Leprino is the nation’s largest producer of mozzarella cheese and has contracts totaling more than $5 million with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide mozzarella and whey products to the Farm Services Agency, according to the AP.
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