The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) will focus on the construction industry to prevent and remedy employment discrimination. The EEOC attributes the focus on the construction industry to what it identified as a pattern of egregious harassment and discrimination incidents against women and persons of color on construction job sites. The incidents referred to include discrimination in recruitment and apprenticeships, hostile work environments based on race, national origin, or sex, and unequal treatment in training, hours, pay, promotions, and layoffs.
The EEOC published a report highlighting incidents where employers failed to respond to employee claims of harassment and discrimination by inaction or retaliation. Those incidents resulted in large monetary damages to employers and mandatory revisions of the employer’s policies and procedures. The EEOC states they intend to continue to enforce anti-discrimination laws on behalf of employees and begin to collaborate with employers, workers, unions, industry groups, and civil rights organizations to develop industry-specific prevention and training to ensure fair hiring practices, equal treatment on the job, and safe and inclusive workplaces.
The EEOC is abiding by their statements and actively filing lawsuits against construction companies across the country for discrimination incidents on behalf of employees. This governmental intervention calls for the construction industry to acknowledge and address employment discrimination issues that may arise to create respectful and inclusive workplaces.
Companies should review their policies and procedures surrounding equal employment opportunities, discrimination, and harassment. Construction employees should understand and follow their employer’s policies and report violations within the company or outside agencies as needed.
By: Samuel Hernandez, Attorney; Irma Alvarez, Summer Law Clerk (2023)