Alabama dental manufacturer settles hiring discrimination lawsuit

After being sued by the Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) on allegations of discriminating against female and minority job applicants, Oral Arts Laboratory Inc. has agreed to pay out a settlement of $115,000.

Based in Huntsville, Alabama, Oral Arts manufactures dental lab equipment including orthodontic appliances, implants and dentures. From November 2011 to November 2013, the company's hiring practices came under scrutiny from the OFCCP, which found that the dental manufacturer used a dexterity test as part of its job application process for potential lab technicians. However, according to investigators, this test did not meet the requirements set by the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures. This allowed Oral Arts to unfairly discriminate against 83 women and 19 African Americans who had applied for lab technician positions.

Additionally, the OFCCP determined that Oral Arts would internally categorize shipping positions as "female jobs" and, in turn, rejected male applicants for these roles. Approximately 57 men who had applied for shipping positions within the company were rejected solely because of their gender.

The Labor Department subsequently filed a hiring discrimination lawsuit against Oral Arts, ultimately prompting the dental manufacturer to agree to a settlement. In addition to paying out $115,000, Oral Arts must also extend job offers to at least 19 of the discriminated applicants. The company has since stopped using a dexterity test as part of the technician application process and has allowed men to apply for shipping positions.

"This agreement underscores the notion that federal contracts, like Oral Arts, should closely examine their employment policies and practices to identify and eliminate unfair barriers to equal opportunity," said Patricia Shiu, director of the OFCCP, in an official statement.

If you've been been discriminated against either at work or during the hiring process, contact The Meyers Law Firm. Our employment discrimination lawyers will review your claim and determine what your next steps for legal action, and potential damages, may be.