Discriminatory hiring: Staffing agency and federal contractor to pay almost $1 million in back wages


A judge with the US Department of Labor’s Office of Administrative Law Judges ordered WMS Solutions LLC — a Baltimore-based staffing agency and federal contractor specializing in asbestos removal and demolition — to pay $960,905 in back wages, damages and interest to remedy alleged discriminatory hiring and compensation practices, the DOL reported.

The judge determined that, from February 2011 through January 2012, WMS Solutions LLC violated an executive order when the employer intentionally used race and ethnicity as a determining factor in its hiring process, preferring to hire Hispanic laborers and failing to hire white, African American, Asian and American Indian/Alaskan Native laborers. The ALJ found that if WMS Solutions had used a race-neutral selection process, 160 additional hires of non-Hispanic laborers would have occurred during the investigative period. The OALJ ordered WMS Solutions LLC to pay $780,998 to remedy the hiring discrimination.

The judge also ordered the company to implement a zero-tolerance, anti-harassment policy and to train all managers and employees on their anti-discrimination obligations.

“This decision goes a long way in showing that contractors cannot hide behind common perceptions of construction worksites to ignore the requirements of equal treatment in hiring, pay and the right to not be abused at work,” said Oscar L. Hampton III, a regional solicitor in Philadelphia.

The decision follows a department administrative proceeding filed against WMS Solutions LLC after a compliance evaluation by the department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.