$800K Hiring Discrimination Settlement with Caterpillar Inc.

Your workplace should be free of discrimination and harassment. Contact the attorneys of Helmer Friedman LLP for information.

The U.S. Department of Labor has entered into a conciliation agreement with Caterpillar Inc. to resolve alleged systemic hiring discrimination against 60 Black applicants at a heavy equipment manufacturer’s production facility in Decatur, Illinois.

Caterpillar Inc. will pay affected job applicants $800,000 in back wages and interest and offer jobs to 34 eligible class members to resolve the allegations. In a proactive step towards change, the company has also agreed to ensure its hiring policies and procedures are free from discrimination and provide training to all managers, supervisors, and other company officials who oversee hiring decisions.

A routine compliance review by the department’s Office of the Federal Contract Compliance Programs found that Caterpillar discriminated against 60 Black applicants who applied for fabrication specialist/welder positions at its Decatur facility from March 30, 2018, to March 30, 2020. OFCCP enforces Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating in employment based on race, sex, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin.

“For the past 58 years, OFCCP has been at the forefront of defining and defending equal employment opportunity in the American workplace. We remain steadfast in our commitment to addressing employment policies and practices that create barriers to opportunity and perpetuate inequality,” reassured Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Acting Director Michele Hodge. “Companies that accept federal contracts must diligently monitor their hiring processes to ensure applicants are not rejected based on unlawful practices.”

“Our agreement with Caterpillar exemplifies the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ (OFCCP) commitment to addressing and remedying preliminary indicators of discrimination in our compliance evaluations. As the enforcer of Executive Order 11246, OFCCP ensures that federal contractors like Caterpillar uphold equal employment opportunity. This agreement provides meaningful compensation and job opportunities to affected individuals and aims to ensure that all applicants, irrespective of their race, are considered equally for employment.”

Caterpillar Inc. has contracts to provide machinery to the U.S. Department of the Army, and since 2018, Caterpillar Inc. has held more than $481 million in federal contracts.

OFCCP has introduced the Class Member Locator, a powerful tool to identify applicants or workers who may be entitled to monetary relief and/or consideration for job placement as a result of OFCCP’s compliance evaluations and complaint investigations. If you believe you may be a class member who applied for a fabrication specialist/welder position with Caterpillar Inc. at its Decatur facility during the investigative period, we encourage you to use OFCCP’s Class Member Locator to learn more about this and other settlements.

Liberty Energy Faces $265,000 Penalty in Race/Color, National Origin Discrimination Case

Race, color, ethnic harassment and discrimination in the oil industry lawyers - Helmer Friedman LLP.

Federal Agency Announces Resolution to Charges of Racial and Ethnic Harassment in the Workplace

Liberty Energy, Inc., operating as Liberty Oilfield Services, LLC, has been ordered to pay $265,000 due to allegations of racial and ethnic discrimination. The lawsuit was led by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of three company mechanics, setting a powerful example of the financial consequences of not adequately addressing harassment complaints.

Regional Attorney Robert Canino said, “Unfortunately, we have often seen cases in which one account of discriminatory treatment against a person based on a particular race or ethnicity leads to evidence that other racial or ethnic minorities have also been caught up in a broader unhealthy environment of demeaning and unlawful conduct. This employer’s commitment to address the bigger-picture issues can be expected to have a broader positive impact beyond the individual who filed the charge.”

The case details suggest a hostile work environment at Liberty Energy’s Odessa, Texas location, involving a Black field mechanic and two Hispanic co-workers who were consistently targeted with racial and ethnic slurs. The employees alleged that their multiple reports of discrimination to supervisors and human resources were ignored, leading to a damaging atmosphere that ultimately forced the Black mechanic to resign.

This case underscores the legal and financial implications businesses face when they fail to meet their obligations under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which strictly prohibits workplace discrimination based on race or national origin. In order to avoid substantial legal fees and monetary damages, it is crucial that complaints regarding discriminatory treatment are promptly and effectively addressed.
In addition to the financial penalty, Liberty Energy must now implement comprehensive measures and policies to prevent future discrimination, including:

  • Training programs on federal laws regarding employment discrimination.
  • A policy that empowers human resources and management personnel to promptly respond to discrimination reports.
  • A dedicated hotline for discrimination and harassment reporting.

EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Joel Clark expressed optimism about the settlement, expressing hope that the stipulated measures will foster a discrimination-free work environment within the company. Regional Attorney Robert Canino echoed the sentiment, highlighting that the employer’s commitment can contribute to a broader positive impact on workplace culture and practices.

Race Discrimination – Unequal Work Assignments Based On Race

Determining work assignments based on race is race discrimination and it is illegal. Contact the Race Discrimination Lawyers at Helmer Friedman LLP.

Delivery company DHL is to pay $8.7 million in compensation and will be monitored by a court-appointed overseer to settle a class race discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The federal agency filed a suit claiming that DHL had segregated its Black and white employees, discriminated against Black employees based on race in the terms and conditions of their employment, and given them unequal and heavier work assignments. Black employees were also assigned to routes in neighbourhoods with higher crime rates, which put them at risk of witnessing or becoming victims of crime.

However, segregating employees and giving them unequal work assignments based on their race is just as unlawful. Such practices should not occur in any workplace. We are confident that the measures put in place by the consent decree will ensure that DHL’s employees are treated equally going forward.

The EEOC charged that DHL’s actions violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits racial segregation and discrimination in employment. Under the consent decree, DHL will compensate 83 Black employees who were subjected to the alleged discriminatory conduct and chose to participate in the lawsuit, with $8.7 million in total. The decree also requires DHL to train its workforce on federal laws prohibiting race discrimination and provide periodic reports to the court-appointed overseer and the EEOC on work assignments and complaints of race discrimination. DHL will be monitored for four years by former EEOC Commissioner Leslie Silverman to ensure compliance with the decree.

According to Gregory Gochanour, Regional Attorney for the EEOC’s Chicago District Office, DHL’s segregating employees and giving them unequal work assignments based on their race is just as unlawful as paying them less or denying promotions. The measures put in place by the consent decree will ensure that DHL’s employees are treated equally going forward. Karla Gilbride, General Counsel of the EEOC, stated that if an employer orders Black workers to continue working in areas perceived as dangerous while accommodating the requests of white workers, it sends a message that the lives and safety concerns of Black workers are valued less than those of their white colleagues, which is plainly unlawful.

EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows emphasised that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed racially segregated workplaces sixty years ago, and the EEOC remains committed to enforcing it vigorously so that race-based job segregation becomes a thing of the past. It’s time for employers to realise that discriminating based on race has no place in any workplace.


Indigenous American discrimination lawyers in Los Angeles.

Incident at Grand Gateway Hotel Highlights the Urgency for Inclusion in the Travel Industry

The Department of Justice recently reached an agreement with the Grand Gateway Hotel in South Dakota. Under this agreement, owner Connie Uhre is barred from any involvement in the company or its subsidiary businesses due to her discriminatory remarks against Indigenous Americans. However, the hotel is now facing fresh allegations of anti-Indigenous practices, this time involving Connie’s son, Nick Uhre. This recent lawsuit is not the Grand Gateway Hotel’s first complaint when it comes to being accused of anti-Indigenous behavior.

One such incident occurred in October when Ryan and Jessica White, a married couple from Wisconsin, saw their reservation canceled upon check-in. They took legal action against the Grand Gateway Hotel and Cheers Sports Lounge and Casino in Rapid City. According to the lawsuit, the Whites made reservations for three rooms through booking agent Travelocity. Jessica, who is white, faced no issues during check-in. However, when Ryan, an Indigenous American, entered the lobby, the employee (believed to be Nick Uhre) refused to process their check-in or honor their reservation.

Despite the Whites’ attempts to provide their confirmation number, the employee refused to acknowledge it or check the hotel’s system. The lawsuit also alleges that the employee yelled at a Travelocity representative to “speak English!” while discussing the reservation. The situation escalated when the employee asked Ryan White to leave the lobby, called security and threatened to involve law enforcement. Feeling threatened and discriminated against, the White family left the hotel and had to make another reservation through Travelocity.

The lawsuit argues that this incident is part of a larger pattern of discrimination by the Grand Gateway Hotel, creating a hostile and unwelcoming environment for Native Americans. Expedia Group, the parent company of Travelocity, has suspended the Grand Gateway Hotel from their platforms while further investigating the travelers’ experience. They have emphasized their zero-tolerance policy towards harassment, violence, and discrimination.

“It is crucial to address incidents of discrimination and foster an inclusive environment for all guests. At Expedia Group, we prioritize the safety and well-being of our customers and will take appropriate action against any form of harassment or discrimination. We stand with our Indigenous community and will continue to support and promote diversity and equality in the travel industry.”

In March 2022, The Daily Beast reported that the former owner of the Grand Gateway Hotel, Connie Uhre, made social media posts suggesting that the hotel would ban all Native Americans from the property following a recent incident. These posts sparked controversy as Connie stated that she couldn’t distinguish between “good” and “bad” Native Americans. However, Nick Uhre, speaking to South Dakota Public Broadcasting, clarified that Indigenous Americans are not banned from staying at the hotel.

Following these events, the NDN Collective, an Indigenous activist organization based in South Dakota, filed a complaint against the hotel, Connie Uhre, and Nick Uhre for explicit racial discrimination. As if the social media comments weren’t enough, Connie was arrested and charged with three counts of assault in May 2022 for allegedly spraying cleaning solutions at Indigenous Americans protesting outside the hotel.

In October 2022, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the hotel for civil rights violations. The DOJ settled the case on November 11, 2023, demanding that Connie Uhre be removed from her position for four years and that the hotel and its owners issue a public apology specifically to tribal organizations in South Dakota and the Great Plains region. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland emphasized that the defendants’ actions were reminiscent of a long history of prejudice and exclusion faced by Native American communities.

The White family, who were involved in the incident, have filed a lawsuit seeking a trial by jury and financial relief.

Content derived from writing and reporting by Brooke Leigh Howard.