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Gov’t Accuses Whirlpool of Discrimination

February 11, 2003

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Department of Labor filed a complaint against Whirlpool Corp. on Monday, alleging that the company discriminated against minority job applicants at its manufacturing plant in Tulsa, Okla.

Whirlpool, based in Benton Harbor, Mich., turned down at least 650 minority applicants based on their performance during a multistep hiring process, Labor Department spokeswoman Yvonne Ralsky said.

Specifically, the department said a multiple choice test of basic skills was discriminatory because it screened out a higher proportion of minority applicants and asked questions that were not job-related.

Whirlpool spokesman Tom Kline said Monday the company no longer administers the test, but stands by the legitimacy of the company’s hiring process.

Whirlpool presented its hiring process to the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and received no response from the agency for more than a year, until Monday’s filing, he said.

``We believe we thoroughly addressed the agency’s concerns, and there has been no communication from them or talk of a formal settlement since then,″ Kline said.

The Labor Department got involved in the case because Whirlpool provides appliances to the federal government. The department said it filed the complaint after a settlement attempt with Whirlpool failed.

The complaint will be considered by administrative law judges within the Labor Department.

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On the Net:

Whirlpool, http://www.whirlpool.com

Department of Labor, http://www.dol.gov

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