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PRESS RELEASE
5-3-16

Asbestos Specialists, Inc. Will Pay $100,000 and Make Major Policy Changes to Resolve EEOC and OFCCP Investigations

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Asbestos Specialists, Inc. (ASI), a Baltimore-based company that specializes in asbestos removal and demolition in the Washington, D.C. area, will pay $100,000 and furnish significant equitable relief to resolve a charge of national origin harassment filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and a Department of Labor Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) compliance evaluation, EEOC announced today.

EEOC found that ASI subjected a class of Hispanic workers to a hostile work environment based on national origin in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans discrimination-including harassment-on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex and religion.

OFCCP made similar findings of national origin discrimination under Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin.

As part of the joint conciliation, ASI will establish a claimant fund in the amount of $100,000 to compensate individuals who were harassed based on national origin. It will hire an Equal Employment Opportunity Coordinator, who must be fluent in English and Spanish. The company and coordinator will develop and distribute to all employees a revised anti-discrimination policy and "know your rights" cards to include information about how to report illegal harassment and how to contact the EEO Coordinator, EEOC and OFCCP.

The company also will provide EEO training to all managers, supervisors and employees. The anti-discrimination policies, "know your rights" cards and EEO training will be available in both English and Spanish. ASI will establish a toll-free number for individuals to report unlawful discrimination or harassment at ASI's work sites. The company will also keep records and report to EEOC and OFCCP regarding its compliance with this voluntary settlement. ASI waived its right to confidentiality regarding the joint conciliation.

EEOC Chair Jenny Yang stated, "Workplace harassment remains a persistent problem and is alleged in over 30 percent of the charges we receive," said EEOC Chair Jenny Yang. "EEOC's Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace is examining the issue and identifying new and creative strategies to prevent and eliminate harassment at work. EEOC is committed to working with employers to voluntarily resolve charges of discrimination (or harassment) to put practices in place to prevent problems from recurring."

"ASI should be commended for working with EEOC and OFCCP to settle this matter voluntarily and for making comprehensive policy changes that will protect its employees from unlawful harassment," said EEOC Washington Field Office Acting Director Mindy Weinstein. "We encourage other employers to follow this example."

"It is appropriate that ASI compensates those who were subjected to unlawful harassment and also ensures that harassment doesn't happen again," said Director of the Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Patricia A. Shiu. "We are always proud to partner with our sister agency, EEOC, in combatting workplace discrimination."

"It's important that companies funded by taxpayer dollars educate their employees on anti-discrimination policies and maintain a harassment free workplace," said OFCCP Mid-Atlantic Regional Director Michele Hodge. "ASI has taken a step in the right direction by cooperating with EEOC and OFCCP to resolve its workplace discrimination issues."

Headquartered in Elkridge, Maryland, ASI received more than $5.8 million in federal construction contracts during the course of the OFCCP investigation to provide its services and products to multiple federal departments and agencies including the Department of Defense, General Services Administration and U.S. Capitol.

EEOC's Washington Field Office has jurisdiction over the District of Columbia and the State of Virginia counties of Arlington, Clarke, Fairfax, Fauquier, Frederick, Loudoun, Prince William, Stafford and Warren, and the State of Virginia independent cities of Alexandria, Fairfax City, Falls Church, Manassas, Manassas Park and Winchester.

EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available at its website, www.eeoc.gov.

In addition to Executive Order 11246, OFCCP enforces Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. Collectively, these laws make it illegal for contractors and subcontractors doing business with the federal government to discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. In addition, contractors and subcontractors are prohibited from discharging or discriminating against applicants or employees who inquire about, discuss or disclose their compensation or that of others, subject to certain limitations. For more information, visit http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/.