Labor Department: Applicants allegedly discriminated against at Hanford

Dec 8, 2022, 10:27 AM
Hanford discriminated...
The Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility is seen at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation June 30, 2005 near Richland, Washington. (Photo by Jeff T. Green/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jeff T. Green/Getty Images)

The Labor Department has reached an agreement with an environmental cleanup provider alleged to have discriminated against applicants for contract employment at the Hanford Nuclear Site near Richland, Wash.

While not admitting liability, Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) will pay $157,621 in back wages and interest to the affected job seekers, and make job offers to eligible class members. The company must also revise and monitor its selection process, personnel practices, and hiring policies to ensure non-discriminatory hiring practices are in place at the Richland location.

US Supreme Court rules that Hanford-worker federal entitlements are discriminatory

An investigation by the department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs found that – from Jan. 1, 2019, to Dec. 31, 2019 – WRPS discriminated against 151 Hispanic applicants who sought jobs as health physics technician trainees.

“Federal contractors are obliged to provide all applicants with equal employment opportunities to make certain all workers have a fair shot at getting and keeping good paying jobs,” said Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Regional Director Jane Suhr.

Headquartered in Richland, WRPS provides environmental cleanup and management services under contract to the Energy Department. From 2008 to 2021, the company received more than $7 billion in federal contracts.

The Hanford Site is a decommissioned nuclear production complex operated by the federal government. Hanford was established in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project.

Plutonium manufactured at the site was used in the first atomic bomb.

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Labor Department: Applicants allegedly discriminated against at Hanford