Construction Company Hathaway Dinwiddie Settles EEOC Discrimination Lawsuit

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Black and Hispanic Construction Workers Were Subjected to Racial Harassment, Federal Agency Charged

LOS ANGELES -- San Francisco-based Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Company will pay $725,000 and furnish other relief to settle a racial harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

Hathaway served as the general contractor for the University of Southern California’s Village Construction Project. The EEOC charged that under the supervision of the general contractor, Black and Hispanic workers were exposed to racially offensive remarks and graffiti. According to the EEOC, Hathaway failed to take effective corrective action to remedy the racial harassment.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (EEOC v. Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Company, Case No. 2:20-cv-06741) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation agreement through its conciliation process.

The case was resolved for $725,000 in monetary relief. Hathaway paid $150,000 and will pay the $575,000 balance before the end of September 2021. The two-year consent decree settling the suit, which remains under the court’s jurisdiction during the decree’s term, includes injunctive relief in¬tended to prevent future workplace harassment and retaliation. Hathaway has agreed to retain an external equal employment opportunity monitor to review its compliance with Title VII and the decree. Hathaway has also agreed to review and revise its harassment and retaliation policies and procedures, provide training to all employees on racial harassment and retaliation and establish a centralized tracking and monitoring system for racial harassment complaints and to prevent retaliation. Hathaway also has agreed to hold subcontractors accountable by requiring them to verify having policies, procedures, and training against harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. The EEOC will monitor compliance with the agreement.

“We commend Hathaway for taking steps to hold subcontractors accountable and to address this ongoing industry-wide problem,” said Anna Park, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Los Angeles district office. “We continue to see racial harassment as an ongoing problem. We encourage all employers, including those in the construction field, to review their harassment policies and procedures to make sure they are in compliance with federal law.”

Rosa Viramontes, director of the EEOC’s Los Angeles District, said, “We recognize the strength of those who came forward and reported the harassment in their workplace. The EEOC will continue to strive to eradicate racial discrimination in employment.”

Preventing systemic harassment of workers is one of six national priorities identified by the Commission’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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