Deere to pay $1.1M over racial discrimination allegations

Dive Brief:

  • Deere & Co. will pay $1.1 million to resolve allegations that it discriminated against Black and Hispanic applicants at three production facilities in Illinois and Iowa, the Department of Labor announced June 6.
  • The department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs found hiring disparities at the company’s Milan, Illinois, and Ankeny and Waterloo, Iowa, facilities, following routine compliance evaluations conducted in 2021 and 2022. 
  • As a result, the agriculture equipment manufacturer will pay over a million dollars in back wages and interest to 277 Black and Hispanic individuals who applied for warehouse, assembly and production positions.

Dive Insight:

Deere’s settlement over alleged workplace discrimination is the largest of its kind publicized by the Labor Department this year. 

The agency found statistically significant differences in the hiring rates for Black and Hispanic applicants across the three sites for hiring practices dating back to as early as June 2019 at the Ankeny facility to as late as Dec. 31, 2021 at the Milan facility, according to Deere’s conciliatory agreement with the Labor Department.  

As part of its agreement, Deere will also make 53 job offers to eligible class members and review its personnel practices, including recordkeeping and internal auditing procedures. 

“As an equal opportunity employer, we remain steadfast in our commitment to our people and we continuously strive to ensure that our hiring and talent practices advance and champion diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Deere Director of Public Relations Jen Hartmann said in an email. 

Deere performs federal contract work for the Agriculture, Interior and Transportation Departments, as well as the U.S. Army, Defense Logistics Agency and the U.S. Forest Service.

Deere’s agreement follows resolutions the Labor Department has made with other federal contractors cited for discrimination this year. Caterpillar agreed in May to pay $800,000 over racial discrimination allegations, and GE Aerospace agreed in February to pay $443,000 related to claims it discriminated against female job applicants. 

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has publicized it has entered into agreements totaling $2.7 million to resolve allegations of discrimination against federal contractors so far this year.

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