(Updated 6/10/2016) The Baltimore branch of Enterprise Rent-a-Car Co. has practiced discrimination against Blacks applying for entry-level management positions, the U.S. Department of Labor alleged in a recent lawsuit.
A 2008 compliance review conducted by the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and further analysis of hiring records found that Enterprise, as a matter of course, showed preference for White applicants and were substantially more likely to reject African-American job-seekers at the initial screening stage and after the first interview, the complaint alleges.
Enterprise was apprised of the violations in 2013, however, mediation efforts have failed and the discriminatory hiring practice continues to the present day, the complaint further alleges.
“All workers deserve a fair shot at equal employment opportunities and advancement,” said Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Director Patricia A. Shiu. “Our action against Enterprise highlights our commitment to combatting discrimination against qualified workers.”
Enterprise RAC Company of Baltimore, LLC is a federal subcontractor that provides vehicles to the U.S. Military Traffic Management Command. It is a subsidiary of Enterprise Holdings Inc., which operates the Enterprise, National and Alamo car rental brands.
The company also failed to maintain personnel and employment records, all in violation of Executive Order 11246. The Executive Order, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965, prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors who do more than $10,000 in government business annually from discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin. It also requires those employers to take “affirmative action” to ensure equal opportunity in employment is available to all.
The lawsuit, which was filed with the Labor Department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges, seeks to permanently bar Enterprise from receiving federal contracts and also seeks monetary compensation for the affected African-American applicants.
Christy Cavallini, a spokeswoman for Enterprise Holdings, said the company’s strong record of diversity in hiring belies the Labor Department’s allegations. She also said that, since the Department first raised the issue nine years ago, the company has fully cooperated in the investigation.
“We have been thorough and diligent in turning over records and opening our offices and files to the Department. Our exhaustive review of every employment application in question documented that we acted properly in every case,” Cavallini said in an e-mailed statement.
The Enterprise spokeswoman said the Labor Department’s lawsuit ignores evidence, such as the percentage of African Americans hired for entry-level management positions in the greater Baltimore area. She placed that figure at 48 percent; African-Americans comprise approximately 29.5 percent of the population of the Baltimore area..
Additionally, she said, the company actively recruits at the area’s HBCUs and also works with community organizations that are equally committed to diversity and equal opportunity, such as the Greater Baltimore Urban League.
“We work hard to ensure that our workforce mirrors the diversity of the communities we serve,” Cavallini stated. “That’s why we are moving immediately to defend against the Department’s decision.”