Originally created 06/27/04

Most employers quiet about race



Despite reporting minority hiring practices to the federal government, most of the area's top employers are unwilling to discuss them publicly.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission requires companies with 100 or more employees to annually file an EEO-1 report, which asks for employee information, including sex, race and job title.

But the agency doesn't mandate that those reports be made public, which apparently suits most companies just fine.

Wal-Mart, the area's largest private employer with more than 3,200 workers, said the company had no way of knowing the racial background of its employees and managers.

Avondale Mills, with nearly 3,000 workers, said it was against company policy to release any information on the racial breakdown of its employees and managers.

International Paper, which employs about 900, said it couldn't provide information on minority hires for "proprietary reasons."

Sitel Corp., which employs about 1,100, said it chooses not to disclose any information about its employees.

"We are an equal opportunity employer, but the details of our work force is not information we would disclose," said Dana Coonce, a Sitel spokeswoman. "Any detail regarding the work force, whether it be race or any other factor, we don't disclose publicly."

Several of the area's other large employers, including E-Z-GO, St. Joseph Hospital and Club Car Inc., did not return repeated phone calls seeking information on this topic.

James Ryan, a spokesman for the commission, said that when Congress created the agency and the subsequent EEO-1 forms it did not intend for the employee information to be part of the public record.

Mr. Ryan said companies are free to make public their employment information.

Of the Augusta-Aiken metro area's 12 largest private employers, only Morris Communications Co., the parent company of The Augusta Chronicle; Southern Nuclear's Plant Vogtle; Doctors Hospital; and Kendall Tyco Healthcare were forthcoming about their hiring practices.

Nationwide, nearly one of every five Morris Communications employees is a minority. Yet fewer than one in 10 managers are minorities.

Of Plant Vogtle's 820 general employees, about 165 are minorities - roughly 20 percent. But only about 13 of 160-plus managers at Plant Vogtle are minorities.

At Kendall Tyco Healthcare, 336 of the company's 546 full-time employees are minorities, and 11 of the company's 35 officials and managers are minorities.

And at Doctors Hospital, almost one-third of department heads and managers are minorities, including the hospital's vice president of nursing, Dell Oliver.

Area's largest Private employers

Company Total Workers Minority Workers Total Managers Minority Managers
1. Wal-Mart 3,245 * * *
2. Avondale Mills 3,000 * * *
3. Doctors Hospital 1,400 * * *
4. E-Z-GO Textron 1,250 * * *
5. Sitel 1,100 * * *
6. St. Joseph Hospital 1,000 * * *
7. International Paper 900 * * *
8. Club Car Inc. 875 * * *
9. Southern Nuclear's Plant Vogtle 820 165 160 13
10. Morris Comm. Co. **5,694 1,046 965 83
11. Quebecor World 700 * * *
12. Kendall Tyco Healthcare 546 336 35 11

* Company did not disclose that information

** Morris Communications employs about 800 people in Augusta, but could not provide a breakdown on the number of minorities and minority managers it has at its corporate headquarters and The Augusta Chronicle.

Reach James Gallagher at (706) 823-3227 or james.gallagher@augustachronicle.com.