NEW YORK, Dec. 15, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Attorney Jason Solotaroff, today announced the filing of a Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaint on behalf of two female construction workers who were subjected to constant sexual harassment while working for Tradeoff Construction LLC on various construction sites throughout New York City.
Jason Solotaroff, partner in the law firm Giskan Solotaroff & Anderson -LLP, said:
"In the last few months, many famous and powerful men have been called to account for their egregious sexual harassment and sexual assault. But sexual harassment and assault does not happen only among the rich and powerful. If anything, mistreatment of women is far more prevalent when the victims/survivors are not famous, are low paid and unrepresented. Nowhere is this more true than in the construction industry where sexual harassment of women is so prevalent that perpetrators have no fear of consequences and victims/survivors having no hope of redress."
One of the women, Ashley Foster, on whose behalf the EEOC complaint has been filed, said:
"Every morning I get up and go to work in order to support and provide for myself and my family. I'm not rich or famous. While working for Tradeoff Construction I was constantly subjected to sexual harassment, ranging from demeaning comments, to inappropriate propostions for sex. It was common knowledge that in order to secure pay increases, steady work hours and future work, women were expected to sleep with their supervisors."
"Ashley Foster's experience is common -- with her workdays consisting of routine and constant offensive comments and gestures along with periodic episodes of even more egregious acts of sexual misconduct and quid pro quo harassment. By speaking out and filing her complaint against not only Tradeoff, her direct employer, but also contractors like Gilbane and developers like Related that control the jobsites, Ms. Foster hopes to ensure a safe and dignified work experience for her and the other women employed in construction."
"The harassment I experienced while working at 55 Hudson Yards was the worst. In addition to the constant verbal harassment, one day a deputy foreman actually texted me an unsolicited picture of his penis. There was no one to turn to for help."
Charlene Obernauer, executive director of New York Committee for Occupational Safety & Health (NYCOSH) said:
"The United States is facing an epidemic of sexual harassment against women in all industries, and construction is no exception, with the second-highest rate of sexual harassment complaints among all jobs. Sexual harassment on non-union job sites in particular is rampant, because women are less likely to report when they're harassed on the job and often fear retaliation by their employer. We need to stand with the brave women who have come forward today and demand that these companies are held accountable – and we need to pass proactive legislation that will increase oversight in this industry."
Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer said:
"Construction jobs are crucial to the continued success of New York and an important path to the middle class, and everyone who can do the work should have the opportunity they deserve for a career in this field just like any other, regardless of gender. Our national reckoning over sexual harassment is beginning to awaken more people to a reality too many women have known for ages: workplace inequality doesn't end with pay discrimination or hiring discrimination. Harassment isn't a mere interpersonal problem, it's an unfair barrier creating hostile, untenable work environments and keeping women from the jobs, promotions, and careers they deserve."
New York City Councilmember Carlos Menchaca said:
"Sexual harassment is as unacceptable in the construction industry as it is in Hollywood or the halls of Congress. No one should ever be subject to inappropriate sexualized behavior, harassment or assault in the workplace. Mutual respect and decency require special vigilance for workers who lack the means to seek help. I commend the brave women who have brought legal action to fight construction industry sexual harassment."
Kathleen Culhane, president of NEW- Nontraditional Employment for Women said:
"At Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW), our mission is to transform the lives of women through a union construction career. We, along with our partners in the union construction trades, are committed to ensuring that tradeswomen are successful and treated with respect. We believe in the power of women to change not only their own lives, but the lives of their families and future generations. We know the benefit of a union construction career for women, and we are here to help make that a reality."
New York City Councilmember Laurie Cumbo said:
"As chair of the Committee on Women's Issues and co-chair of the Women's Caucus, I am proud of our city's progress to increase the number of women in nontraditional careers within the construction industry. Job security and promotions should be based on merit and not coerced acts. In the aftermath of the #metoo movement, we stand in solidarity with the courageous women who came forward and reaffirm our commitment to end gender-based discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace, which is bad business that affects our city's workforce and bottom line."
Giskan Solotaroff & Anderson -LLP (GSA) has filed separate complaints at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") for Ms. Foster and another woman employed by Tradeoff, Tierra Williams. Ms. Foster's complaint names as respondents Tradeoff and its affiliated entities as well as Gilbane Building Company and the Related Companies, the general contractor and developer, respectively, of the Hudson Yards project. Both Gilbane and Related exercised control over employees at Hudson Yards and should be held responsible for sexual harassment that occurred there. The complaint for Ms. Williams, who worked on another Related project identifies as Respondents Tradeoff and its affiliated entities and Related. GSA is confident that the EEOC investigation will result in findings of discrimination and harassment and legal action against Tradeoff, Gilbane and Related.
"Every day we hear that our country may be at a turning point in our society and culture as it relates to women and sexual harassment in the workplace. But we will never truly reach that turning point and begin to make progress to an equal, harassment-free work place until we recognize the true extent of the problem and make a social commitment that every woman, no matter her social, economic or political standing can get up every day and go to work and be assured of a safe, respectful work environment. Today we take that first step in that long overdue journey. "
Copies of the signed EEOC complaints: http://mma.prnewswire.com/media/620250/Giskan_Solotaroff_EEOC_Complaint.pdf
CONTACT: JASON SOLOTAROFF, 917-334-2123
SOURCE Giskan Solotaroff & Anderson LLP