HOUSTON, TX – The U.S. Department of Labor has entered into a conciliation agreement with The American Bottling Company to resolve alleged hiring discrimination at the Houston, Texas, facility.
A compliance evaluation by the Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) found that beginning in 2012, American Bottling systemically discriminated against female and Black applicants for full-time merchandiser and loader positions; and beginning in 2013, systemically discriminated against African American applicants for part-time merchandiser positions. By allegedly doing so, the employer violated Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors from employment discrimination based on race, color or national origin.
“The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to working with employers to resolve compliance issues,” said Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Regional Director Melissa Speer in Dallas, Texas. “This agreement with The American Bottling Company ensures the company takes necessary steps to comply with federal hiring and equal employment opportunity laws.”
While not admitting liability, The American Bottling Company has agreed to pay $590,000 in back wages and interest to the affected applicants, and to hire 42 of the affected female and African American applicants as full-time merchandisers, 16 as full-time loaders, and seven previously rejected African American applicants as part-time merchandisers. In addition, the employer agrees to ensure its personnel practices, including recordkeeping, meet legal requirements.
The American Bottling Company is a subsidiary of Keurig Dr. Pepper, with headquarters in Plano, Texas, and Burlington, Massachusetts. The company and its subsidiaries provide beverages to the U.S. military retail system under federal contracts.
In addition to Executive Order 11246, OFCCP enforces Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. These laws, as amended, make it illegal for contractors and subcontractors doing business with the federal government to discriminate in employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran. In addition, contractors and subcontractors are prohibited from discriminating against applicants or employees because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their compensation or the compensation of others subject to certain limitations, and may not retaliate against applicants or employees for engaging in protected activities. These laws also require that federal contractors provide equal employment opportunity through affirmative action. For more information, please call OFCCP’s toll-free helpline at 800-397-6251 or visit https://www.dol.gov/ofccp/.
OFCCP recently launched the Class Member Locator (CML). The purpose of the CML is to identify applicants and/or workers impacted by OFCCP’s compliance evaluations and complaint investigations, and who may be entitled to a portion of monetary relief and/or consideration for job placement. If you think you may be a class member who applied between 2012 and 2014, the period of the investigation, please visit our website at http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/CML/index.htm, where you can also find information about other recent OFCCP settlements.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.
Editor’s Note: This release has been corrected to remove the reference that The American Bottling Company operated as Southwest Fountain Supply Company.
Agency Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs
Date October 19, 2020
Release Number 20-1338-DAL
Contact: Chauntra Rideaux
Phone Number 972-850-4710
Contact: Juan Rodriguez
Phone Number 972-850-4709