In a complaint filed on June 17, 2015, OFCCP alleges that a staffing agency that supplies laborers to work for federal prime construction contractors at the prime contractors’ construction sites, permitted the prime contractors’ supervisors to harass the staffing agency’s Hispanic employees. According to the complaint, WMS Solutions, LLC, also discriminated against non-Hispanic applicants in hiring; discriminated against female, black, and white employees regarding pay; and failed to maintain personnel and employment records for two years. As a federal subcontractor, WMS is required to comply with the non-discrimination requirements of Executive Order 11246 and its implementing regulations. OFCCP v. WMS Solutions, LLC, DOJ ALJ, No. 2015-OFC-00009 (June 17, 2015)
The complaint alleges WMS failed to ensure and maintain a working environment free of harassment at all construction sites where its employees work. WMS allegedly knowingly permitted supervisors of prime contractors to verbally and physically abuse WMS’s Hispanic laborers at construction sites through racial slurs and physical assault, and by showing videos of Hispanic workers being taken into custody and deported. WMS allegedly also failed to take action following a report from a Hispanic employee of physical abuse. This employee was removed from the work site by the prime contractor, and WMS did not offer him any other work for several weeks.
OFCCP noted WMS did not have a policy prohibiting workplace harassment or a process by which employees could report harassment. The complaint also alleges WMS discriminated against non-Hispanic applicants in hiring for laborer positions. For these violations, OFCCP seeks employment for the denied applicants, lost wages, interest, retroactive seniority, and all other benefits of employment. The complaint further alleges WMS paid female employees less per hour and provided female, black, and white employees with fewer hours of work, for which OFCCP seeks lost wages and salary adjustments.
Staffing agencies that do business with the federal government as federal contractors and/or subcontractors should take heed of the OFCCP’s proposed corrective action and take at least the following actions to ensure and maintain an environment free from harassment at the worksites where they place their employees:
- Adopt a written policy prohibiting workplace harassment at any site work site and setting forth a process for employees to report harassing conduct, including who to contact and appropriate contact information.
- Distribute the policy to all employees and prominently post the policy at each site where employees work.
- Annually train all managers and supervisors on equal employment opportunity (EEO) practices and how to identify and prevent harassment and retaliation. In addition to training supervisors,
- Monitor and inspect all worksites where staffing agency employees work for the presence of harassment and promptly remove any racially or sexually demeaning displays at the worksites where their employees work.