The Real Deal New York

Carpenter claims construction company fired her and others over gender

Women on the construction site were allegedly belittled
By Kathryn Brenzel | April 24, 2018 08:30AM

A construction crane (credit: iStock)

A carpenter claims she and other women were fired from a construction job on the Far West Side because of their gender.

Linda Dugue is suing Long Island-based Pabco Construction Corporation, alleging that women were belittled and treated differently than their male colleagues while working on the site at 640 West 30th Street. Male apprentices and mechanics working on the site were offered overtime and opportunities to take certification classes, while their female counterparts — with the exception of one, who served as a delegate for the carpenters union — were not, according to the lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan.

Calls and emails to Pabco employees were not returned. Details on the type of construction weren’t available.

When an employee inquired about hiring Dugue, a foreman for Pabco identified only as Mickey, replied that, “Women are stupid and clueless and can’t handle the workload. Women whine too much and can’t take the pressure of the industry.”

Dugue claims Mickey and others were dismissive and hostile once she joined the work site. While she and a mechanic were installing framing together, Mickey allegedly yelled at her: “What the hell are you doing? Are you a goddamn nail caddy? You’ll be picking up and passing out screws for the rest of your career. That’s all you’ll ever be.”

She also alleges that she overheard another foreman, Keith Reid, say that “females aren’t physically capable of doing the work.”

Dugue was terminated in September 2016, and Reid’s explanation was that she was a woman and was becoming “too expensive,” according to the lawsuit.

“Unfortunately women only get used for deliveries and insulation. When they get to the end of their apprenticeship, they don’t know anything. You know, as a woman in the industry, this is going to happen to you a lot more in your third and fourth year,” he said, according to the lawsuit. “Don’t worry, you’re not the only one.”

According to the lawsuit, three other female apprentices were fired after Dugue and were replaced by three men. She filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which issued a notice of her right to sue in January. Dugue also notified the New York District Council of Carpenters, of which she is a member, of her allegations. Representatives for the organization declined to comment.

As of 2016, 250,270 people worked in construction in New York City, according to the latest U.S. Census data. Only 7.6 percent of those workers were women.