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DOJ sues Entergy over affirmative action non-compliance

The DOJ says Entergy has refused repeated requests to submit documents required of government contractors

Energy company Entergy Corp. has more issues than just a summer air conditioning power surge — the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) sued Entergy on June 17 for failing to submit proof of required affirmative action programs.

According to the DOJ, Entergy has refused repeated requests to submit written affirmative action programs and records since 2012. The government says that, as a federal contractor, Entergy must comply with federal law to not discriminate against employees and job applicants on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability or protected veteran status.

“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 Patricia A. Shiu, director of the Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), to the New York Times.

In May 2012, the OFCCP informed Entergy that 12 of its facilities would be selected for a compliance review. However, according to the NYT,Entergy rejected offering up the affirmative action papers, that the governmental regulations “violate the prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures.”

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The government seeks a permanent injunction that requires Entergy to turn over the required materials. Entergy has not commented on the pending legislation.

The DOJ estimates that Entergy earns more than $1 billion as a result of taxpayer-funded contracts. As a result, says Jocelyn Samuels, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's civil rights unit, the company’s failure to make the disclosures “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.”

A member of the Fortune 500, Entergy had revenue of $11.4 billion in 2013 and employees approximately 15,000 people. The company has electric power businesses in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, and it operates multiple nuclear power plants.

Zach Warrren

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