The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is suing Potomac Abatement, a demolition contractor in Jessup, Maryland, for alleged discrimination against African-American and Hispanic employees. During an audit conducted by the OFCCP, the agency found Potomac discriminated in their hiring process and towards current employees. The discrimination included but was not limited to allegations of steering, mistreatment, and sexual harassment. According to the OFCCP, these violations have continued to persist, and the agency is seeking restitution for the affected class members and mandatory updates to Potomac’s company policies.
OFCCP Findings and Allegations:
- Affected class members, African-American and Hispanic employees, were employed at Potomac Abatement as unskilled laborers and skilled field technicians in 2011-2012.
- Potomac Abatement forced over 145 Hispanic employees into lower-paying positions.
- Hispanic employees harassed because of their national origin or race.
- At least 17 African-American employees were terminated due to their race
- OFCCP alleges that Potomac mistreated Hispanic workers, denying them basic necessities provided to other employees.
- Potomac allowed supervisors to harass Hispanic works, sexually harass Hispanic female workers, and retaliated against workers who reported improper treatment.
- Potomac violated several additional federal contractor obligations, including failing to recruit women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, protected veterans, and failed to maintain employment records.
- The lawsuit requests that Potomac must reinstate laid-off African-American workers, pay back wages to the African-American and Hispanic workers, and implement and develop a compliant equal employment opportunity policy.
Potomac Abatement has been a subcontractor on federal contracts for the Internal Revenue Service, the Smithsonian Institution, Marine Corps, and the U.S. Departments of Labor and Veterans Affairs. What is important to note is that Potomac Abatement is a subcontractor, and as a subcontractor, they are required to adhere to affirmative action obligations. Subcontractors should learn from this lawsuit and investigate all indications of discrimination, review policies, procedures, and ensure their company is meeting all affirmative action obligations.
If you are a federal contractor or subcontractor (or unsure if you fall into one of the two categories) and need assistance reviewing your affirmative action plan or equal opportunity policy, contact Career Resources, Inc. at email@example.com.