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Baltimore Gas and Electric ordered to pay $350K over hiring

Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. is expected to pay approximately $350,000 to a number of prospective employees following a U.S. Department of Labor audit that accused the firm of hiring an unusually low number of African-American trainees between December 2007 and November 2008. The Labor Department asserted that the Maryland power company should have employed a significantly higher number of African-American candidates for two job classifications given the racial makeup of the total applicant pool.

Baltimore Gas and Electric's CEO contends that while the firm plans to abide by the Labor Department's finding "with both spirit and intent," he noted that BGE corrected any apparent race discrimination well before the Labor Department audit.

The firm conducted its own internal probe into the racial makeup of its workforce in 2009, finding an imbalance and correcting its hiring process accordingly. Additionally, the Labor Department failed to find evidence of any faulty hiring practices when investigating any of BGE's 229 other job categories."I think we're now on a trajectory that is really where we need to be as a company," explained the CEO.

BGE was accused of failing to meet racial diversity benchmarks in its cable splice, distribution construction trainee and cable installer trainee job categories. The Labor Department claimed that while a third of all applicants during the surveyed period were African-American, only about 8 percent of those hired were African-American.

As a federal contractor, BGE is required to hire, promote and pay its employees in a way the Department of Labor deems fair. An official with the Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs said that the agency was concerned with BGE's alleged noncompliance with the office's standard, but praised the Maryland firm and noted that it is "taking proactive steps to come into compliance with the law and prevent workplace discrimination."

Claims of employment discrimination can greatly damage a business or organization's reputation and submit it to serious fines and penalties. Companies targeted by discrimination lawsuits should contact a qualified attorney to ensure their rights are represented.

Baltimore Sun, "BGE to pay $350,000 to resolve racial hiring concerns" Jamie Smith Hopkins, Sep. 27, 2013

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