Citing $1.2T infrastructure act, EEOC probes racism, sexism in construction

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission spotlighted construction’s culture of racism and sexual harassment Tuesday in a hearing where a Black forklift driver said he was encouraged to wear a noose around his neck for Halloween, and a female ironworker testified women developed urinary tract infections after being pressured not “to go to the bathroom too much” on jobsites. After describing other cases litigated by EEOC against construction firms that included threats of lynching, sexual assault and even murder against women and people of color, Chair Charlotte Burrows said now was the time to make sure public money doesn’t perpetuate that pattern. But while unions’ inclusion initiatives actively seek out women and people of color today, ironworker Japlan “Jazz” Allen told commissioners that being a Black woman in the trades exposed her to sometimes being hired to meet diversity goals on projects, only to be laid off once they were fulfilled.

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