FORT SMITH — Baldor Electric Co. agreed Monday to pay $2 million to settle a hiring-discrimination case brought against the Fort Smith manufacturer by the U.S. Labor Department.

FORT SMITH — Baldor Electric Co. agreed Monday to pay $2 million to settle a hiring-discrimination case brought against the Fort Smith manufacturer by the U.S. Labor Department.

A company official said the settlement, arising over alleged activity dating to 2006, was arrived at because Baldor “does not want to extend” action related to disputing the claims.

A Labor Department news release issued Monday indicated Baldor had been accused of “systemic discrimination stemming from the company’s applicant screening process at its facility in Fort Smith.”

The release said investigators with the Office of Federal Compliance Programs determined determined the process “violated Executive Order 11246 by creating a disparate impact on women and minorities. As a result, 795 qualified women, African-Americans and job seekers of Asian and Hispanic descent were denied the opportunity to advance to the interview stage when applying for production and laborer positions.”

“We don’t believe we did anything wrong,” Tracy Long, Baldor’s vice president of marketing, said Monday.

She said the company had received no complaints of illegal activity and the allegations resulted “purely from a statistical analysis” of the company conducted by the Labor Department and “a decision based on their model.”

Dating to 1965, Executive Order 11246 establishes requirements for nondiscriminatory hiring by companies that contract with the U.S. government.

The company currently holds federal contracts worth more than $18 million with the General Services Administration and the U.S. departments of Veterans Affairs and Justice. From 1997 to 2010, Baldor received $79 million to produce batteries and generators for federal agencies including GSA, the Justice Department and the Army.

The agreement requires Baldor to pay back wages with interest to some 795 female and minority applicants denied positions at the Fort Smith facility. Another 50 must be offered employment at Baldor as jobs become available. The company also has agreed to undertake extensive self-monitoring measures to ensure that all hiring practices fully comply with the law.

Baldor Electric, which is owned by Zurich, Switzerland-based ABB Ltd., manufactures industrial motors and generators. The company was founded in 1920 and moved its headquarters from St. Louis to Fort Smith in 1967. Acquired by ABB in 2011, Baldor continues to operate under its own name as a member of the ABB group. The company has a local workforce of about 2,400.

“We want to do the right thing,” Long said, noting the complaints are a new experience to the company. She said while Baldor has enjoyed a long history of successful operation in the U.S. and Fort Smith, action like that taken against the company “offers a challenge” to a business.

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Rusty Garrett writes for the Times Record in Fort Smith