Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the nation's largest private prison operator, has agreed to pay more than $438,000 to settle allegations of discriminatory hiring practices at the company's Central Arizona Detention Center in Florence, according to a February 23, 2007 report in the Arizona Republic.
Investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor said the company violated federal affirmative action law by disproportionately rejecting non-Hispanic job applicants who sought employment at the prison during a two-year period ending in March 2005.
Under the settlement, CCA will hire 16 applicants who were previously rejected. The company will also pay $945.32 each to 464 former job applicants, for a total payout of $438,626.
CCA further promised to immediately cease its discriminatory hiring practices and implement self-monitoring procedures to ensure it maintains legal hiring standards, the Department of Labor said. The Florence facility faces a future audit by federal investigators to verify compliance.
The Department of Labor routinely audits companies that conduct business with the federal government. "We'll go in and we'll look at who applied for the jobs and who was hired," said Department spokeswoman Deanne Amaden. "In this case, what we found was a high disproportionate number of Hispanics were being hired. The result was that the non-Hispanics were not getting that job opportunity."
CCA denied any wrongdoing. "Although we continue to disagree with the position taken by [the Department of Labor], we have agreed to take certain steps to resolve this matter," the company said in a written statement.
Source: The Arizona Republic
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