EEOC Sues Construction Staffing Firm Over Alleged Discriminatory Hiring Practices

  • Editorial Team
  • News
  • 31 October 2023

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has taken legal action against a construction staffing company, TKO Construction Services, accusing it of failing to hire Black and female workers while also allegedly discriminating against individuals over the age of 40. This lawsuit raises concerns about discriminatory hiring practices within the construction industry. The case forces us to look once again at the importance of addressing such issues to foster diversity and inclusivity.

Discriminatory Hiring Allegations 

The EEOC filed the case in federal court on September 28, claiming that TKO Construction Services refused to hire women, Black workers, and individuals over the age of 40 at the behest of its clients. 

A recruiter for the company discovered this practice and promptly reported it to the company’s president. According to the recruiter, the company openly admitted to not hiring these groups based on client preferences, leading to her resignation. 

Plus, the lawsuit alleges that the company made hiring decisions based on sex and ethnicity, resulting in Black and female employees working fewer hours and earning less money. 

EEOC’s Stance on Discrimination 

The EEOC emphasized that employers who believe they can contract out discriminatory practices are mistaken. Acting Chicago District Director Diane Smason stated that businesses cannot outsource discrimination. 

TKO Construction Services’ Response 

As of the report’s publication, TKO Construction Services had not provided a comment. However, the company’s website says that it is an equal opportunity employer and considers all applications regardless of race, sex, age, or other legal classifications. 

Industry-Wide Discrimination Issues 

The EEOC published a report earlier this year that told us about the construction industry’s ongoing discrimination and harassment concerns. It noted that such issues, coupled with the severity of many complaints, make the construction sector a matter of particular concern. This comes at a time when the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is trying to encourage more hiring in the industry. This is raising more questions about the barriers faced by underrepresented groups. 

Legal Actions 

The lawsuit seeks compensation and damages for the employees who were allegedly discriminated against and calls for back pay for the recruiter who resigned. 

The lawsuit also claims that the company and its clients classified jobs into “lights” and “heavies,” with women assigned as “lights” and men as “heavies.” This categorization resulted in different tasks and responsibilities. The owner of the business must issue a letter to every client pledging compliance with federal employment nondiscrimination regulations as part of a consent decree.