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Grocery distributor Nash Finch Co. is defending itself against charges of gender bias in hiring practices at its Lumberton, N.C., distribution center four years ago.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs filed an administrative complaint against Nash Finch that challenges the hiring of order selectors at the distribution center between April and December 2006. The claims are based on the results of an investigation during a routine compliance review, not any complaints by prospective employees.
“We were disappointed to see that OFCCP issued a press release which in our view inaccurately portrays the hiring practices of Nash Finch Company. Nash Finch does not tolerate any form of discrimination and is committed to offering very compelling and rewarding employment opportunities in a safe environment for all individuals,” said Alec Covington, Nash Finch president and CEO. “While the OFCCP over time has asserted challenges in certain other locations concerning Nash Finch’s hiring of order selectors and record keeping practices, those allegations never reached a court or administrative tribunal. Both Nash Finch and OFCCP made the decision to settle those disputes to avoid the tremendous cost and expense of potential litigation and OFCCP agreed that the settlements were not an admission of liability by Nash Finch.”
Covington said the company “cooperated with the OFCCP in its investigation and tried to resolve the dispute in a reasonable manner to ensure that any remedy included only qualified applicants for employment. Unfortunately, our efforts to resolve the matter amicably were not successful. We look forward to defending our hiring policies and procedures in the administrative tribunal.”
Minneapolis-based Nash Finch serves independent retailers and military commissaries in 36 states, the District of Columbia, Europe, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Azores and Egypt. The company also owns and operates a base of retail stores, primarily supermarkets under the Econofoods, Family Thrift Center, Avanza, Family Fresh Market and Sun Mart banners.