A construction firm in New York City will pay a USD $1.5 million settlement and undergo three years of outside monitoring following the State Attorney General’s investigation of sexual harassment complaints. Trade Off Construction Services agreed to the conditions related to Attorney General Letitia James’ findings that 18 women had been subjected to a toxic and discriminatory work environment created by both coworkers and company management.
The determined “pattern of severe sexual harassment” over a four-year period included verbal and sexual harassment, failure to discipline perpetrators of belittling behaviour and demand for sexual acts in return for overtime and increased pay opportunities. At least 12 of the women were fired after they reported and condemned the abusive treatment.
“The agreement will end Trade Off’s deplorable and unlawful treatment of its female employees and provide affirmative relief to the brave women who came forward,” James says.
The company will also be required to report to James regularly on the progress it is making in fortifying and implementing policies and procedures to combat sexual harassment, including documented proof of its investigations into future sexual harassment complaints. Along with the USD $1.5 million compensation for the 18 women specifically involved in the agreement, the company will establish a fund for other workers who have experienced sexual harassment while in Trade Off’s employ.
“We thank the former employees of Trade Off for their courage in coming forward to expose the horrific treatment they experienced while on the job,” says Robert Bonanza, business manager for the labour local, Mason Tenders’ District Council of Greater New York and Long Island, which referred the issue to the Attorney General. “Attorney General James and these brave former employees have sent their message loud and clear: Sexual harassment in the construction industry is pervasive, but the state of New York will always be on the side of the workers.”