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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
8-29-13

Construction Contractor Sued by EEOC for Sex Discrimination

Company Systematically Fired Female Sheet Metal  Workers, Federal Agency Charged

NEW YORK - Vamco Sheet Metals, Inc. violated federal law by  serially firing female sheet metal workers working for the company on a  state-funded construction project and otherwise treating them differently  because of their sex, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)  charged in a lawsuit filed today.  The  Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.-based company fabricates and installs sheet metal on  construction projects throughout the state.

At issue are Vamco's employment practices during its tenure  as a subcontractor on the massive John Jay College of Criminal Justice  expansion from 2009 through 2011, funded by the Dormitory Authority of the  State of New York (DASNY).  According to  the EEOC's lawsuit, when women were referred to the John Jay project by their  union - Local 28 of the Sheet Metal Workers' International Union - Vamco fired  each one for pretextual reasons, some after just a few days of work.  The EEOC also charged that the company  discriminated against the women in various other ways during their short  tenures, from monitoring the length of their bathroom breaks to assigning them  menial tasks like fetching coffee to denying one woman, a new mother, a private  place to pump breast milk.  

The EEOC filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the  Southern District of New York (13-CV-6088) after first attempting to reach a  pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.  The suit seeks to recover past wages for all  women harmed by Vamco's actions, as well as injunctive relief. 

"Women may have made it into the ranks of multiple fields  previously closed to them, but too often the construction industry is plagued  by unrepentant discrimination," said Kevin Berry, district director of the  EEOC's New York District Office.  "The  EEOC continues to fulfill its mission of attacking such practices in all  workplaces so that there will no longer be any bastions of discrimination in  America."

Thomas Lepak, the EEOC trial attorney handling the case,  added, "In industries such as construction where women are still  underrepresented, too many employers seem to believe that they're not bound by  the same rules as everyone else.  With  this case and others, we're letting them know that they're held to the same  standards as any other company operating in this day and age."

Enforcement  of equal pay laws and targeting compensation systems and practices that  discriminate based on gender, is of one of six national priorities identified  by the Commission's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment  discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site  at www.eeoc.gov.