Contractor Also Harassed Two Women and Fired Them Because They Opposed Unlawful Harassment and Discrimination, Federal Agency Charges
BALTIMORE - ACM Services, Inc., a Rockville, Md.-based environmental remediation services contractor, violated federal law when it refused to hire women and African Americans for field laborer positions and subjected two female employees to sexual and national origin harassment before firing them, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleged in a lawsuit announced today.
The EEOC charged that since at least January 2005, ACM Services has exclusively used word-of-mouth recruitment practices for field laborer positions with the intent and effect of avoiding recruiting black job applicants and refusing to hire black job applicants because of their race. The EEOC lawsuit claimed that ACM Services has refused to hire female applicants for field laborer positions because of their sex.
In addition, the EEOC says that ACM Services subjected two Hispanic female employees to harassment based on sex, race and national origin. The egregious harassment included: requesting a sexual relationship of one of the women; sexual comments; making offensive comments to another of the women based on her association with persons of another race; repeatedly making derogatory comments about Hispanic persons, especially Hispanic women; and the unwelcome display of graphic sexual images of women.
The EEOC also alleged that ACM Services engaged in unlawful retaliation against the two Hispanic women because they opposed the harassment and discrimination and that this retaliation culminated in their terminations. The EEOC further charged that ACM Services failed to preserve employment applications as required by federal law and regulations.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), 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 (EEOC v. ACM Services, Inc., Civil Action No. 8:14-cv-02997 PWG), after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
"It is simply unacceptable and plainly unlawful that 50 years after the passage of Title VII, some employers still refuse to recruit or hire African-Americans or women," said EEOC Philadelphia District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. "We are committed to ensuring that everyone is afforded equal opportunities during the hiring process to be judged on abilities and not race or sex."
EEOC Philadelphia Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence said, "When employers rely exclusively on current employees to spread information concerning job vacancies to their family, friends, and acquaintances, unless the workforce is already racially and ethnically diverse, such word-of-mouth recruiting can create a barrier to equal employment opportunity for racial or ethnic groups that are not already represented in the employer's workforce - and this violates federal law."
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.
The EEOC's Philadelphia District Office has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the agency is available at its website, www.eeoc.gov.