Alleged hiring discrimination by Bank of America will cost the firm $4.2 million in back wages, interest and other fees, the U.S. Labor Department announced last week.
The Charlotte-based bank agreed to the settlement Friday following a compliance review by DOL that found the bank had discriminated against African-American, Latino and female applicants seeking positions as phone representatives, sales specialists and other jobs, according to The Charlotte Observer.
The alleged practices occurred at Bank of America locations across Georgia, Florida, New Jersey and Texas where minority applicants were denied work. Craig E. Leen, director of the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, lauded Friday’s settlement as a corrective step in the right direction.
“This result will further the goal of equal employment opportunity,” Leen said of the agreement, which has been touted as “one of the largest settlements” in the compliance program’s history.
Bank of America wasn’t as affable, however. The company said it reached the agreement in hopes of finally putting the discrimination claims, which it vehemently denies, to rest.
“We are confident that our hiring practices were appropriate and reflected Bank of America’s demonstrated record of recruiting a diverse workforce,” BOA spokesman Bill Halldin told Atlanta Black Star in a statement, noting that in some instances, the bank hired “significantly more women than men” for certain positions.
“These reviews occurred between six and 10 years ago in a small number of offices,” he added. “We decided it was best to put this matter behind us by reaching this resolution.”
This isn’t the first time the bank has faced claims of hiring discrimination. In 2017, Bank of America shelled out $1 million in back pay and interest to more than 1,000 African-American job applicants to settle a nearly 24-year-old discrimination case involving its predecessor, NationsBank.
That settlement was the result of a 1993 DOL review, in which the department said it found evidence of “systemic hiring violations” involving 1,027 Black applicants.
“Although much time and effort has gone into this case by all parties, the department is pleased that the matter has been resolved,” acting OFCCP director Thoms Dodd said at the time. “It’s a win for the affected job applicants, for Bank of America and for the department. It reinforces our nation’s founding principles of fair treatment and level playing fields.”
As part of its latest settlement, Bank of America has agreed to review its hiring practices at branches nationwide.
This latest settlement is dwarfed by far larger ones the banking giant has agreed to over the past decade, including a $16.65 billion payout agreement it reached with the Department of Justice in 2014 to resolve financial fraud cases arising from the 2008 mortgage crisis.
The company didn’t return Atlanta Black Star’s request for comment.