The Justice Department announced the filing of a lawsuit today against Entergy Corporation for violating Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. The lawsuit alleges that the defendant violated these laws and the executive order when it refused to comply with federal contractor requirements to submit proof of required affirmative action programs to the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). Because Entergy has refused to supply documentation and cooperate with auditing attempts, OFCCP has been unable to determine if Entergy is in compliance with its affirmative action obligations.
“Government contractors that choose to accept federal funds also agree to abide by laws and regulations aimed at preventing employment discrimination,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division. “When a government contractor, like Entergy, refuses to adhere to the obligations it accepted as a federal contractor, that refusal undermines the public trust that taxpayers expect in ensuring that public funding is used in a manner that complies with both federal law and agency regulations.”
“This issue has been litigated and re-litigated many times, and the courts have been clear: companies that profit from federal contracts must comply with our requests for proof that they are meeting their obligations,” said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. “Entergy already earns more than $1 billion in taxpayer-funded contracts to provide services to the government. We shouldn’t have to spend more of those dollars taking them to court because they refuse to abide by the law. So, I urge Entergy Chairman and CEO Leo Denault to respect our nation’s hard-won civil rights laws.”
Entergy, as a federal contractor, is prohibited from discriminating against employees and job applicants because of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability or protected veteran status. The company is also required to take affirmative action to employ qualified women, minorities, people with disabilities and protected veterans. To determine compliance with those affirmative action and non-discrimination requirements, government contractors, including Entergy, are required to develop and maintain written affirmative action programs, retain personnel and employment records, and provide OFCCP access to those documents during compliance reviews or investigations. The lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction requiring Entergy to comply with its obligations, including its obligation to produce documents requested by OFCCP within 30 days of the request.
The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, alleges that since May 2012, Entergy has refused OFCCP’s repeated requests to turn over its written affirmative action programs and other records requested as part of the routine compliance review of 11 Entergy locations in Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana.
The Department of Labor referred this matter to the Department of Justice when Entergy refused to submit the documents requested by OFCCP even after receiving notices to show cause why enforcement proceedings should not be initiated.
The case is being handled by Senior Trial Attorney Valerie Meyer of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division’s Employment Litigation Section.