Leading Chemical Company will pay $175,000 for Hiring Discrimination

The Aqualon Company, a subsidiary of Ashland Inc., has entered a conciliation agreement with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) to settle claims of hiring discriminations against African Americans applying for entry-level positions. During an OFCCP audit of the company’s Richmond facility, the agency found the company discriminated against African American applicants from October 1, 2011, through September 30, 2012. To resolve these allegations, Aqualon will pay a total of $175,000 to 660 affected class members.

OFCCP Findings and Conciliation Agreement:

  • OFCCP determined Aqualon failed to offer equal employment opportunities African Americans applying for transition operator positions from October 1, 2011, through September 30, 2012
  • OFCCP found Aqualon had used a selection test as part of its hiring process that unfavorably affected and discriminated against African-American applicants
  • Aqualon will pay $175,000 in back pay with interest to 660 African-American applicants
  • Aqualon agrees to hire four of the affected African-American applicants
  • Aqualon agrees to stop using the discriminatory selection test for its entry-level positions
  • The company agrees to revise its recordkeeping and hiring practices to ensure compliance with Executive Order 11246
  • The conciliation agreement will resolve all violations


Ashland Inc. holds over $37 million in federal contracts with the United States Department of Navy and Army and other federal agencies. This conciliation agreement with Aqualon is an essential lesson for federal contractors using any form of testing as part of their selection process that is not validated. Parent companies should monitor subsidiary companies to ensure all of their companies meet their affirmative action obligations. Failing to do so could result in administrative and financial penalties, put a company at risk of losing federal contracts and trigger additional OFCCP investigations of other company facilities. Even if your facilities and subsidiaries have separate affirmative action plans, have an expert review all plans to ensure compliance with Executive Order 11246.

If you have any questions about how a conciliation agreement, like the one against Ashland Inc., could impact your company or questions concerning your affirmative action plan obligations, contact Career Resources, Inc. 


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