Maryland Firm to Pay $415K to Settle EEOC Discrimination Suit

November 18, 2014

A Maryland-based environmental remediation services contractor will pay $415,000 and provide comprehensive equitable relief to resolve a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) race, gender discrimination and harassment lawsuit, the federal agency announced on Nov. 13.

The EEOC had charged that ACM Services in Rockville, Maryland, engaged in a pattern or practice of race and sex discrimination in hiring and also harassed two women based on sex, race and national origin and retaliated against them.

ACM’s counsel Jeff Schwaber said in a statement that ACM does not tolerate discrimination of any kind and that the firm denies any wrongdoing. The attorney said ACM decided to settle this case in a manner that avoided the enormous cost and distraction of protracted litigation.

According to the EEOC’s suit, ACM Services exclusively used word-of-mouth recruitment practices for field laborer positions with the intent and effect of failing to recruit black job applicants. The EEOC said that ACM Services also refused to hire black job applicants, or female applicants for field laborer positions.

The EEOC also charged that ACM Services subjected two Hispanic female employees to harassment based on sex, national origin, and race and engaged in unlawful retaliation against them, which resulted in the termination of their jobs, when they opposed the harassment and discrimination.

The EEOC said such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination and harassment based on race, sex and national origin. Title VII also forbids employers from retaliating against individuals who oppose discrimination.

The EEOC said it filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland (U.S. EEOC v. ACM Services, Inc., Civil Action No. 8:14-CV-2997-PWG), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

Under the settlement, ACM Services will provide $305,000 in monetary relief for a class of persons not hired or recruited because of race or sex and $110,000 in monetary relief to the two Hispanic female employees.

Additionally, the three-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit enjoins ACM Services from engaging in any future race, sex, or national origin discrimination or retaliation, and provides substantial non-monetary relief, the EEOC said.

The EEOC said ACM Services has agreed to a number of measures, including:

• implement numerical goals for hiring qualified black applicants and female applicants, including both permanent and temporary or contingent workers, for field laborer positions;

• create a job opportunities advertisement program to recruit a diverse pool of qualified applicants for field laborer positions and refrain from using word-of-mouth recruiting as its sole method for seeking job applicants;

• conduct extensive self-assessment of hiring and work assignment practices to ensure non-discrimination and compliance with the terms of the consent decree;

• pay for advertising of the class claims process; and

• submit reports to the EEOC concerning numerical hiring goals and other consent decree compliance issues.

The EEOC said it will be conducting a claims process over the next 35 months to identify eligible claimants and determine awards.

“We are pleased that ACM Services worked with us to resolve this lawsuit quickly and without engaging in protracted litigation,” EEOC Philadelphia Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence said in a statement.

“These affirmative measures will benefit all employees and applicants. All employers should consider proactive measures to foster equal employment opportunities for job applicants and workers,” said Lawrence.

ACM’s counsel Jeff Schwaber said in a statement that ACM denies any wrongdoing. “ACM is very proud of the stellar reputation it has built over many years of hard work. It employs a qualified and diverse workforce, and does not tolerate discrimination of any kind,” said Schwaber.

“ACM denies any wrongdoing, but has a company to run, and after years of back and forth discussion with EEOC about this matter, ACM made the difficult decision to settle this case in a manner that avoided the enormous cost and distraction of protracted litigation, and to move on with the work it is set up to do,” said Schwaber. “The matter has been resolved by agreement, and ACM looks forward to continued service and success.”

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