$415,000 to Settle Discrimination and Harassment Suit

Monday, November 17, 2014

ACM Services, Inc., a Rockville, Md.-based environmental remediation services contractor, will pay $415,000 and provide comprehensive equitable relief to resolve a class race, gender discrimination and harassment lawsuit. The EEOC had charged that ACM Services engaged in a pattern or practice of race and sex discrimination in hiring and also harassed two women based on sex, race and national origin and retaliated against them.

According to the EEOC's suit, ACM Services exclusively used word-of-mouth recruitment practices for field laborer positions with the intent and effect of failing to recruit black job applicants. The EEOC said that ACM Services also refused to hire black job applicants, or female applicants for field laborer positions. The EEOC also alleged failure to preserve employment applications.

The EEOC charged that ACM Services also subjected two Hispanic female employees to harassment based on sex, national origin, and race and engaged in unlawful retaliation against them because they opposed the harassment and discrimination and that the retaliation resulted in their terminations. The EEOC also alleged that one of the Hispanic female employees was subjected to harassment because of her association with black persons.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination and harassment based on race, sex and national origin. Title VII also forbids employers from retaliating against individuals who oppose discrimination. The EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland (U.S. EEOC v. ACM Services, Inc., Civil Action No. 8:14-CV-2997-PWG), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to the $305,000 in monetary relief for a class of persons not hired or recruited because of race or sex and $110,000 in monetary relief to the two Hispanic female employees, the three-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit enjoins ACM Services from engaging in any future race, sex, or national origin discrimination or retaliation, and provides substantial non-monetary relief.

Among other things, ACM Services will:

  • implement numerical goals for hiring qualified black applicants and female applicants, including both permanent and temporary or contingent workers, for field laborer positions;
  • create a job opportunities advertisement program to recruit a diverse pool of qualified applicants for field laborer positions and refrain from using word-of-mouth recruiting as its sole method for seeking job applicants;
  • conduct extensive self-assessment of hiring and work assignment practices to ensure non-discrimination and compliance with the terms of the consent decree;
  • pay for advertising of the class claims process; and
  • submit reports to the EEOC concerning numerical hiring goals and other consent decree compliance issues.

The EEOC will be conducting a claims process over the next 35 months to identify eligible claimants and determine awards.

Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring, especially class-based recruitment and hiring practices that discriminate against racial, ethnic and religious groups, older workers, women, and people with disabilities, is one of six national priorities identified by the EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan.

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