Winona-based Fastenal Co., a fastener distributor and federal contractor, has opted to settle a discrimination claim with the U.S. Department of Labor rather than fight legal action. The company has agreed to pay $1.25 million in back pay and offer positions to the 154 African American and 17 female workers who claimed they were the subject of discriminatory hiring policies. The $1.25 million in back wages and interest is to be allocated to 7,398 African-American and 1,055 female job applicants who were affected by the policies.

The suit was filed after federal investigators took a look at hiring practices at warehouse sites in Indianapolis and Atlanta and found the company discriminated against African-Americans and female job applicants with its screening and testing practices. According to a statement from the Labor Department, Fastenal "destroyed or failed to provide various employment records from both facilities in an alleged attempt to hinder the investigation."

As part of the settlement, Fastenal does not have to admit wrongdoing. Fastenal sells industrial and commercial supplies at 2,700 stores nationwide, with 14 distribution centers in North America. In 2011 and 2012 Fastenal received $35 million in federal contracts, according to the Labor Department.

"Fastenal has taken a step in the right direction by working closely with our agency to resolve these issues," said Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program Director Patricia Shiu. "Together, we will ensure that the company continues to maintain all required employment records and only uses employment tests that are job related to the position for which they are applying."

If you feel you have been the victim of discrimination due to your race, gender or any other factor, contact The Meyers Law Firm today for a consultation. Our employment discrimination lawyers will review the details of your case and advise you how to proceed.