Testimony of James E.B. Bobseine

Good morning, Chair Burrows, Vice Chair Samuels, and Commissioners Dhillon, Lucas, and Sonderling. My name is James Bobseine. I am an EEOC Trial Attorney from the Buffalo Local Office, which is part of the New York District Office. Thank you for inviting me to speak to you this morning about the EEOC’s litigation against CCC Group, Inc. (the “Company”), a construction company based in San Antonio, Texas.

At the outset, I must say that I am honored to speak today alongside Gary. He is a skilled, knowledgeable, hard-working craftsman, who took a risk in participating in the EEOC lawsuit because he felt compelled to speak out about what he experienced. Without Gary and others like him, the EEOC would not be able to do its important work. I would also like to thank Supervisory Trial Attorney Nora Curtin of the New York District Office, and my former colleague Nairuby Beckles, for their help litigating this case. I also must thank EEOC Investigator Rachel Wantuck of the Buffalo Local Office for her hard work in investigating this case.

The EEOC filed its complaint against the Company in federal court in the Northern District of New York. The EEOC alleged that the Company violated federal law when it fostered a work environment rife with racist comments and treatment at its Upstate New York construction site in 2016. More specifically, the EEOC alleged that white supervisors and employees regularly made unwelcome racist comments, used racial slurs, threatened Black employees with nooses, and subjected Black employees to harsher working conditions than white co-workers.

The EEOC obtained a Consent Decree that resolved its lawsuit against the Company. As part of the Decree, the Company agreed to pay $420,000 to seven former Black employees who worked for the Company in 2016, and whom the EEOC alleged were subjected to racial harassment by white supervisors and co-workers. The Decree will remain in effect until August 2024.

The Decree provides for targeted injunctive relief, including but not limited to the following:

  • Pursuant to the Decree, the Company conducted a “lessons learned” presentation for all business unit managers worldwide that focused on the EEOC Complaint, the Decree, and included thorough anti-harassment training. Attendees at this “lessons learned” presentation also included executives and department heads, a voluntary step that was taken by the Company.
  • The Decree also required that the Company appoint an Equal Employment Opportunity (“EEO”) Manager, who is responsible for ensuring that the Company complies with the Decree and with federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Among other duties, the EEO Manager must promptly investigate internal complaints of discrimination, promote employee anti-harassment trainings, and visit the Company’s worksites to meet with employees to discuss EEO issues and train managers on how to respond to complaints of employment discrimination.
  • Within 15 days of receiving a complaint of racial discrimination from an employee or applicant, the Company must report that complaint to the EEOC. Within 30 days of receiving such a complaint, the Company must report each step taken to investigate such a complaint, the results of the investigation, and any action taken by the Company.
  • The Company placed written disciplinary actions in the permanent employee files of two former supervisors for engaging in racial harassment. The Decree enjoins the Company from rehiring them.
  • The Decree requires that the Company conduct company-wide training for employees and managers to educate attendees about harassment and discrimination issues in the construction industry.

Under the Decree, the Company must take actions that are responsive to the allegations in the EEOC’s case, as well as specific to the personnel and structure of the Company, the nature of its work, and the industry in which it operates. This kind of effective injunctive relief is a vital part of the EEOC’s litigation program, to ensure that employees can do their jobs in workplaces that are safe and respectful. As you heard from Gary, the Black employees who participated in EEOC’s lawsuit were hard-working, experienced construction workers, dedicated to skillfully and safely doing their very difficult jobs. This injunctive relief was designed to make certain—to the extent possible—that they and others like them can do so at the Company.

Thank you.