U.S. sues Jes­sup con­trac­tor for al­leged bias

Baltimore Sun - - NATION - By Sarah Gantz sarah.gantz@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/sarah­gantz

The U.S. De­part­ment of La­bor is su­ing a Jes­sup-based de­mo­li­tion con­trac­tor for al­legedly dis­crim­i­nat­ing against 162 His­panic and African-Amer­i­can work­ers.

The suit filed with the de­part­ment’s Of­fice of Ad­min­is­tra­tive Law Judges al­leges that be­tween 2011 and 2012, Po­tomac Abate­ment Inc. forced 145 His­panic employees into lower-pay­ing jobs and ha­rassed them be­cause of their race, and ter­mi­nated 17 African-Amer­i­can work­ers be­cause of their race.

Po­tomac Abate­ment de­nied any wrong­do­ing.

“Po­tomac Abate­ment is com­mit­ted to equal em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­nity and af­fir­ma­tive ac­tion in the work­place and takes pride in be­ing a high-qual­ity, spe­cialty con­trac­tor for var­i­ous govern­ment agen­cies. Po­tomac re­grets that the Of­fice of Fed­eral Con­tract Com­pli­ance Pro­grams (OFCCP) has cho­sen not to rec­og­nize the sig­nif­i­cant ac­tions Po­tomac has taken to di­ver­sify its work­force and has cho­sen in­stead to file an ad­min­is­tra­tive com­plaint,” the com­pany said in a state­ment.

The com­pany said in its state­ment that it will co­op­er­ate fully with the La­bor De­part­ment.

Po­tomac Abate­ment spe­cial­izes in as­bestos and lead re­moval, and pri­mar­ily works on projects in the Wash­ing­ton area. The com­pany’s work in­cluded con­tracts for the Marine Corps, the Smith­so­nian In­sti­tu­tion, the In­ter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice, and the U.S. De­part­ments of La­bor and Vet­er­ans Af­fairs.

The suit fol­lows an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the La­bor De­part­ment’s Of­fice of Fed­eral Con­tract Com­pli­ance Pro­grams. While the law­suit per­tains to employees who worked for the com­pany be­tween 2011 and 2012, the com­plaint al­leges that dis­crim­i­na­tion has con­tin­ued.

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