$215,000 Settlement in Sex Discrimination Lawsuit Against Construction Contractor, Training Ordered

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Question:  Would sex discrimination training have prevented this case?  See our trainings at http://www.hrclassroom.com.

Construction contractor Vamco Sheet Metals, Inc., will pay $215,000 as part of the settlement of a sex discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Legal Momentum, a women's rights nonprofit organization (formerly NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund), joined the EEOC's suit on behalf of four discrimination victims.

The lawsuit challenged the treatment of female sheet metal workers on the massive John Jay College of Criminal Justice expansion in Manhattan from 2009 through 2011. According to the lawsuit, female sheet metal workers were fired for pretextual reasons, some after just a few days of work. The suit also alleged that the women were treated unfavorably compared to men, including being assigned menial tasks like fetching coffee and having their breaks monitored. One new mother was denied a clean private place to pump breast milk.

Sex discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Vamco Sheet Metal, Inc., Civil Action No. 13-CV-6088) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to the $215,000 in damages to be paid to the discrimination victims, the three-year consent decree resolving the case requires Vamco to implement policy revisions that provide for equal opportunities, distribute the policy to all employees, and post notice of this resolution. The decree also requires annual anti-discrimination training for all supervisory employees and monitoring of Vamco's employment practices by the EEOC.

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

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