The Department of Labor is suing the Enterprise Rent-A-Car of Baltimore, LLC for allegedly discriminating against Black applicants seeking entry-level management trainee positions at the company.
According to a news release by the DOL, a compliance review conducted by the department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) discovered that Enterprise engaged in discriminatory hiring practices and failed to keep proper personnel and employment records.
The department’s review also determined that Black and white applicants weren’t treated equally; African-American applicants were much more likely to be rejected at the initial screening stage and interview than white applicants, the release states.
“All workers deserve a fair shot at equal employment opportunities and advancement,” OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu stated. “Our action against Enterprise highlights our commitment to combating discrimination against qualified workers.”
The lawsuit claims racially biased hiring at Enterprise still continues today. According to the Baltimore Sun, the DOL suit also requests the court to order relief for all affected Black applicants, as well as to bar the company from participating in future federal contracts.
OFCCP’s review examined nearly 560 African-American applicants, the news site reports. DOL spokeswoman Joanna P. Hawkins acknowledges not all of the applicants were qualified to be hired, but says white applicants were twice as likely to be selected for the trainee position.
Enterprise Holdings Inc., which functions under the Enterprise, National and Alamo rental brands, strongly disagrees with the department’s complaint. Per the Baltimore Sun, a spokeswoman for the firm asserts that the company is committed to minority outreach, citing its work to recruit employees from historically Black colleges and universities. She also says the firm has fully cooperated with the DOL’s probe and has an employee tracking system that maintains accurate records.
“We’re disappointed that, after all this time, the Department of Labor has apparently chosen to ignore the evidence and proceed with this action,” spokeswoman Christine Cavallini wrote in an email to the Baltimore Sun. “We work hard to ensure that our workforce mirrors the diversity of the communities we serve. That’s why we are moving immediately to defend against the Department’s decision.”
According to Cavallini, 48 percent of Enterprise Holdings’ current entry-level management workers are African-American.
This isn’t the first time a Baltimore company has been accused of racial discrimination. In January 2015, the Department of Labor sued WMS Solutions LLC, a staffing firm, for favoring Hispanic applicants over non-Hispanic applicants, paying female employees lower wages than male employees, and assigning fewer work hours to African-American laborers, the Baltimore Sun reports.