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Electroimpact to pay $485,000 over alleged hiring discrimination

By Alwyn Scott and Ankit Ajmera

(Reuters) - Boeing Co and Airbus Group SE tooling supplier Electroimpact Inc has been fined $485,000 after an investigation alleged that it had a discriminatory hiring policy, the Washington State Attorney General said on Friday.

Boeing and Airbus use Electroimpact robotic machines throughout their jetliner factories, including to help make wings for their top-selling 737 and A320 single-aisle aircraft.

An investigation by Attorney General Bob Ferguson's office found evidence that Electroimpact and its founder refused to hire Muslim applicants and "engaged in religious and/or national origin harassment". (http://bit.ly/2n26Cyi)

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"The conduct outlined in our complaint is outrageous," Ferguson said in a statement on Friday. "Discriminating against workers and retaliating against anyone who questions it is illegal."

Electroimpact founder Peter Zieve had the primary responsibility for screening applicants and conducting final interviews, according to the statement from Ferguson's office.

About 95 percent of Electroimpact's 474 engineers are white, the statement said, citing a report to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Electroimpact said on Friday that it did not conform to the personal views of its founder and that Zieve was no longer involved in the company's hiring process.

Boeing plans to use Electroimpact machines to help make wings for its forthcoming twin-aisle 777X aircraft.

Other Electroimpact equipment is also used in construction and assembly of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner carbon fiber composite fuselage sections.

Boeing said it was "concerned about the activities described by the Attorney General's office," noting that "diversity and inclusion are key Boeing values and we expect our business partners to uphold them."

Airbus in a statement noted the diversity of its team around the world and said it values the benefits that different cultures bring.

Both companies declined to discuss how the fine might affect business dealings with Electroimpact.

 
 
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