Deere to Pay $1.1M to Resolve Hiring Discrimination Allegations

Deere & Company will pay $1,105,000 in back wages and interest to resolve alleged hiring discrimination affecting Black and Hispanic applicants at three of its agriculture, construction and forestry equipment production facilities in Illinois and Iowa, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

The news comes just weeks after Caterpillar was ordered to pay $800,000 on similar hiring discrimination allegations.

The DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs says a routine evaluation found hiring disparities at Deere’s facilities in Milan, Illinois, and Ankeny and Waterloo, Iowa.

Preliminary findings alleged discrimination against 33 Black and 12 Hispanic applicants for warehouse positions in Milan; 36 Black applicants for assembler positions in Ankeny; and 196 Black applicants for production positions in Waterloo.

In addition to the back wages and interest, Deere must offer 53 jobs to eligible class members and evaluate its personnel practices, including its record-keeping and internal auditing procedures. 

As a federal contractor for the Army and Agriculture, Interior and Transportation departments, as well as the Defense Logistics Agency and the U.S. Forest Service, Deere must comply with Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating in employment based on race, sex, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin. 

“The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to protecting America’s jobseekers from employment discrimination,” said Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Midwest Regional Director Carmen Navarro in a June 6 statement. “The settlement reached with Deere & Co. resolves the hiring discrimination uncovered by OFCCP and ensures actions will be taken to correct and prevent a recurrence of discrimination.”

Over the last few months, Deere has laid off hundreds of workers at its plants in Waterloo and Ankeny, Iowa, and Moline, Illinois, with more layoffs expected amid declining agricultural equipment sales. Deere also recently announced plans to move production of midsize skid steers and compact track loaders to Mexico from Dubuque, Iowa, in 2026.

Deere reported a worldwide net income of $61.3 billion in 2023, up 16% over the previous year. However, the company’s latest financial report showed a 12% decline in global net sales and revenue in the second quarter. Deere forecasts a drop in sales across its agricultural, construction, and forestry divisions for fiscal 2024 globally and in the U.S.