Fastenal Co. of Winona, Minn., will pay $1.25 million in back pay and offer positions to 171 job applicants in Indianapolis and Atlanta as part of a hiring discrimination settlement reached with the U.S. Department of Labor, government officials announced Thursday.

Fastenal, which is a fastener distributor and federal contractor, did not admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement. Company officials declined to comment Thursday.

In a statement, the Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) said it found the distributor of nuts, bolts and factory and construction supplies used screening and testing practices in its Atlanta and Indianapolis warehouses that discriminated against 154 black people and 17 women who applied for jobs.

An investigation also revealed that Fastenal "destroyed or failed to provide various employment records from both facilities in an alleged attempt to hinder the investigation," the statement said.

The government said the discrimination took place in 2011 and 2012 while Fastenal had a contract to provide $35 million worth of products and services to the federal government.

As part of the settlement, Fastenal agreed to end its targeted screening practices and to hire 154 black and 17 female employees. It also agreed to pay $1.25 million in back wages and interest to 7,398 black and 1,055 female job applicants who are part of the affected class.

"Fastenal has taken a step in the right direction by working closely with our agency to resolve these issues," OFCCP Director Patricia Shiu said. "Together, we will ensure that the company continues to maintain all required employment records and only uses employment tests that are job related to the position for which they are applying."

The company's stock was up 99 cents Thursday to close at $39.03.

Dee DePass • 612-673-7725