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N.Y. sheet metal firm to pay $215K for bias against female workers


A New York construction contractor has agreed to pay $215,000 to settle U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charges that it discriminated against female sheet metal workers, the agency said Tuesday.

In a lawsuit filed last year, the agency charged that while working as a subcontractor on the John Jay College of Criminal Justice expansion in Manhattan from 2009 through 2011, Cold Spring, New York-based Vamco Sheet Metal Inc. fired each of the women referred to it by their union for pretextual reasons, some after just a few days of work.

The suit also charged the women were treated unfavorably compared with men, including being assigned menial tasks such as fetching coffee and having their breaks monitored.

In addition to the $215,000 in damages, the three-year consent decree resolving the case requires Vamco to revise its policy and redistribute the new policy to all employees, among other terms.

“These women had decades of experience as skilled sheet metal workers,” said EEOC New York regional attorney Robert D. Rose in a statement. “Employers, even in male-dominated industries like construction, must provide women an equal chance to prove their skills and practice their trade.”

The company’s attorney had no comment.

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