24 Years Later, Bank of America Finally Settles Discrimination Lawsuit Brought by Black Job Applicants

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The Labor Department found that Bank of America discriminated against more than 1,000 Black applicants for entry-level jobs. (Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Bank of America has agreed to pay $1 million in back pay and interest to more than 1,000 African-American job applicants, settling a nearly 24-year-old discrimination case involving its predecessor NationsBank, the U.S. Department of Labor announced Monday, April 17.

The long-awaited settlement follows a 1993 DOL review of the Charlotte-area bank in which the department said it found “systemic hiring violations” involving 1,027 Black job applicants for entry-level positions. A suit brought by those denied jobs in the early ’90s led to over two decades of litigation for the company.

A probe by the department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs also found that the bank violated Executive Order 11246 as it discriminated against Black applicants for clerical, teller and administrative positions at its Charlotte facility, according to a DOL press release. Just last year, the Labor Department’s Administrative Review Board delivered a Final Decision and Order awarding financial relief to the applicants who weren’t hired in 1993.

“Although much time and effort has gone into this case by all parties, the department is pleased that the matter has been resolved. It is a win for the affected job applicants, for Bank of America and for the department,” acting OFCCP Director Thomas M. Dowd said in a statement. “It reinforces our nation’s founding principles of fair treatment and level playing fields.”

The DOL said Bank of America, which merged with NationsBank in 1998, didn’t admit liability in reaching the deal. In a statement, the bank maintained that it’s committed to fair hiring practices.

“We remain committed to fair hiring practices,” Bank of America said in a statement. “While we continue to disagree with the Department of Labor’s analyses, we are pleased to have resolved this nearly 25-year-old matter.”

Under the terms of Monday’s agreement, the banking institution must pay $1 million in back wages to the denied applicants but will not be required to offer them a position at the company. An order issued by the DOL in 2013, which ordered the bank to pay $2.2 million to Black applicants the department said were unfairly rejected, also required BOA to offer jobs to 10 applicants who were initially denied, as previously reported.

 

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