The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has held a hearing wherein it has examined severe discrimination cases, especially against women and people of color. It also tried to provide more opportunities to the historically marginalized workers in the construction industry.
“The construction sector has always been an important component of the American economy, as a major employer of America’s workers, a pathway to prosperity and security, and a key indicator of the nation’s health,” said EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows. “Unfortunately, many women and people of color have either been shut out of construction jobs or face discrimination that limits their ability to thrive in these careers.” Chair Burrows pointed out further that “Discrimination and harassment in construction can be especially harsh and virulent, including displays of nooses; threats and physical harassment; and sometimes physical or sexual assaults. Yet, often workers do not know where to go to seek help. Today’s hearing shed light on innovative, promising practices addressing discrimination and increasing diversity in this crucial industry.”
The EEOC heard from a wide range of witnesses with expertise on the challenges faced by people who do not fit the usual demographics in the traditionally white and male-dominated construction industry. Some of them are as below:
Melissa Wells, special assistant to the president for diversity and inclusion of North America’s Building Trades Union (NABTU), said, “I’m sure we can agree that all stakeholders share the responsibility to increase diversity in construction in the industry – from the C suite to the jobsite. NABTU and our 14 affiliates are changing lives. We are doing our part, and we will continue to lead the way in fostering a truly diverse building trades future.”
The complete statement can be read here.