Sex discrimination suit at construction job settled

Three years after a job discrimination complaint was filed by a female laborer, Conti of New York, L.L.C. made a settlement on Mon., Sept. 8.

When Jacqueline Miller, a working laborer since 1985, was denied a job at the West Side Highway construction project near the World Trade Center site, she alleged that Conti would not hire her because of her gender. Miller then filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Legal Momentum, the women’s rights advocacy group representing Miller, released a press statement on Sept. 8 saying Conti denies Miller’s claims, but in order to avoid litigation costs, the company has agreed to pay her the potential salary she could have earned at the jobsite. According to the statement, Conti also promised to enhance efforts to assure that women will be treated equally by designating on-site Equal Employment Opportunity monitors to jobsites, improving its E.E.O. policies and regularly providing E.E.O. training for its employees.

“We are really pleased we were able to represent Ms. Miller and that she didn’t give up,” said Jennifer Brown, vice president and legal director of Legal Momentum. “The things that Conti agreed to do are really terrific … having an onsite E.E.O. monitor is really crucial to women’s opportunities on construction sites. It’s not what most construction contractors do.”

Legal Momentum has been actively encouraging onsite E.E.O. monitoring at construction sites since 2001 with the launch of its “Equality Works” program, Brown said. Miller’s case is one of many discrimination cases Legal Momentum has represented or is currently representing.

“Women have been entering the construction trades for more than 30 years but so far have made very little progress,” Brown said. “We’re trying to change that once and for all.”

The Conti Group based in New Jersey and Conti of New York, L.L.C. both declined comment on the settlement.

— Sisi Wei