Charges Filed with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Allege That the New York City Department of Transportation Has a Pattern of Discriminating Against Female Applicants for Bridge Painter Positions

New York, New York May 8, 2002 - In five separate charges, with the fifth charge as recent as April 4, 2002, The Structural Steel and Bridge Painters of Greater New York, Local Union 806 and several of its members, allege that New York City’s Department of Transportation has a “pattern and practice of gender based discrimination against female applicants for Bridge Painter”, according to the charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The allegations are based upon the DOT’s refusal to hire four qualified female applicants referred by Local 806 to the DOT for the position of Bridge Painter and the hiring of less qualified male applicants.

In each year since 1998, the Department of Transportation interviewed for Bridge Painter positions. During that time, the four women named in the discrimination charges, submitted resumes as applications. In 1999, no female applicant was granted an interview. In 2000, only one female was interviewed. She was not hired and was also the only female interviewed for a Bridge Painter position. In 2001, again, only one female applicant was interviewed and she too was not hired.

At the time of their applications, all four applicants had been employed as bridge painters in the private sector for several years, and were graduates of a certified apprenticeship program and met the DOT’s requirement of sixty months of experience. Eight newly hired, male employees were not apprenticeship program graduates and, at least one male employee did not have sixty months of experience.

“When four obviously qualified female applicants are denied Bridge Painter positions, time and time again, it becomes excruciatingly clear that the DOT has established a pattern of discrimination against females for Bridge Painter positions,” said Joe Ramaglia, Business Representative to Local 806. “There is no place for discrimination of any kind, and the fact that a municipal agency has engaged in such apparent gender discrimination makes these circumstances even more disgraceful”.

After learning that she would not be interviewed in 2000, one of the applicants called the DOT’s personnel office and was told that she would not be interviewed because she did not have a commercial driver’s license. Although such a license is required for the Bridge Painter position, the DOT in fact, hired thirteen men for that position in 2000, and at least three of them did not possess that license when hired. These men were given a grace period to obtain a commercial driver’s license, during which they were permitted to work at full pay and benefits. No female applicant to the Bridge Painter position has ever been afforded this opportunity. In fact, in the history of the DOT, no female has ever been employed in the Bridge Painter civil service title.