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U.S. sues Entergy for not reporting affirmative action compliance

July 17 (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday sued Entergy Corp, accusing the utility owner and power producer of refusing to show that it complies with rules governing affirmative action, a requirement for federal contractors.

According to a complaint filed with the U.S. District Court in New Orleans, Entergy has since May 2012 refused repeated requests from the Labor Department to submit its written affirmative action programs and related records, in connection with a routine compliance review of 11 properties in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

The Justice Department said Entergy, as a federal contractor, cannot discriminate against employees and job applicants on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability or protected veteran status.

It estimated that Entergy earns more than $1 billion in taxpayer-funded contracts to provide services to the government.

Entergy's failure to make the disclosures "undermines the public trust that taxpayers expect in ensuring that public funding is used in a manner that complies with both federal law and agency regulations," Jocelyn Samuels, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's civil rights unit, said in a statement.

Michael Burns, an Entergy spokesman, said the New Orleans-based company does not discuss pending litigation.

The lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction requiring Entergy to turn over required materials.

Entergy said it employs roughly 14,000 people, has electric power businesses in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, and operates six nuclear power plants.

The case is U.S. v. Entergy Corp et al, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, No. 14-01644.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)