The EEOC Is Focusing On The Construction Industry
July 12, 2023
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is taking a hard look at the construction industry and has announced its intention to focus its efforts on advancing equal employment opportunity in this industry.
The EEOC recognizes that the construction industry is one of the country’s largest which will grow in the coming years due to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 and the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022. The EEOC states that while many construction employers are “making good faith efforts” to protect the civil rights of all employees, “some of the most egregious incidents of harassment and discrimination” the EEOC investigates “have arisen in the construction industry.” According to a report issued in May 2023, the EEOC believes that women and people of color are underrepresented in the construction industry, that harassment is pervasive on many worksites, and that retaliation is “a serious problem” in the industry. The EEOC believes that there is an “urgent need for new, different, and collaborative approaches to these persistent challenges.”
In addition to its investigation and litigation efforts, the Commission intends to use the following tools:
- Develop industry-specific technical assistance for employers, unions, and workers to help ensure fair hiring practices, equal treatment on the job, and safe and inclusive workplaces;
- Meet with unions, employers, industry groups, workers, and civil rights organizations to understand their needs, develop coalitions, and provide information about their rights and duties under federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination;
- Provide information about lawful diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) practices that have been effective in fostering opportunities for all workers;
- Partner with unions, employers, and community-based organizations to provide effective anti-harassment training to apprentices and workers; and
- Work cooperatively with other federal, state, and local anti-discrimination agencies to advance equal employment opportunity in the industry.
Employers in this industry should expect to see more charges from the EEOC and an aggressive approach to such charges from the investigators. KZA’s attorneys have decades of experience with the EEOC, its investigators, and its litigators. We can help you respond to any charges you receive.
But there is much proactive work that can be done before a charge is filed to put your company in the best possible position to be able to defend any charges filed. KZA attorneys frequently assist construction employers with EEO training for employees and supervisors, handbook policies, and internal investigations. Our attorneys can help you get your EEO house in order so that if the EEOC comes knocking, you are ready.
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