EEOC: WalMart Store Let Harassment Continue

Sexual harassment allegedly reared its ugly head at this retail giant’s store.

Wal-Mart Stores East, LP violated federal law when it allowed a male employee at its Defuniak Springs, Florida, store to sexually harass at least three female employees, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed yesterday.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, from at least July 2018 until late November 2018, at least three female employees were subjected to sexual harassment by a male co-worker. The abusive conduct included repeated instances of sexual comments and inappropriate touching. After one of the females complained to management, Walmart failed to stop the harassment and instead fired her four days later. The offending co-worker continued to harass other female employees, according to the EEOC.   

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination and violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Walmart, Inc., d/b/a  Wal-Mart Stores East, LP,  Civil Action No. 3:21-cv-01051-TKW-HTC) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks back pay and reinstatement for the terminated employee, compensatory and punitive damages for all the victims, and injunctive relief to remedy and prevent future workplace sexual harassment.

“This case serves as reminder that employers must take complaints of sexual harassment seriously and not retaliate against employees who assert their lawful rights,”  said Bradley Anderson, district director of the EEOC’s Birmingham District Office. “Employees should be applauded for standing up for their rights, not punished.”

Marsha Rucker, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Birmingham District Office, said, “Retaliation against victims who complain of harassment is a violation of federal law. When employers punish victims instead of addressing the problem, the EEOC will hold them accountable.”

Walmart, founded in 1962 and headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, owns and manages a chain of over 11,000 largest grocery and retail stores globally. Walmart is the world’s largest company by revenue, and the largest private employer in the world.

The EEOC’s Birmingham District consists of Alabama, Mississippi (except 17 northern counties) and the Florida Panhandle.

Insecure: Guard Service Allowed Harassment of Female Officer, Ignored Complaints, EEOC Says

It was all downhilll for this female employee, starting with inappropriate behavior by a male co-worker, the feds allege.

American Security Associates, Inc., an Acworth, Georgia-based contract security guard service provider, violated federal law by subjecting a female security officer to a sexually hostile work environment and then retaliating against her for complaining about it, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it recently filed.

According to the EEOC’s suit, beginning in or about April 2017, Ambreia Chaney, a security officer working for American Security Associates at one of its client’s condominium communities, began to be sexually harassed by her male co-worker in the form of  unwelcome and inappropriate touching and lewd comments, including cornering Chaney in a closet and threatening to engage in sexual acts. Chaney reported the sexual harassment to her supervisor and the company’s regional manager.

After receiving her complaint, American Security Associates immediately moved Chaney to a less favorable position with a reduction in pay. American Security Associates also failed to investigate Chaney’s complaint, telling her that she should expect sexual harassment based on her appearance. After American Security Associates refused to address her complaint and return her to her previous position with the same pay, Chaney felt that she had no choice but to resign from her position.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace and prohibits employers from firing, demoting, harassing or otherwise retaliating against employees because of complaints of discrimination or harassment. The EEOC filed suit against American Security Associates, Inc. (Civil Action No. 1:21-CV-3870-ELR-JSA) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement via its conciliation pro­cess. The EEOC is seeking back pay, compensatory damages, and punitive damages for the employee, as well as injunctive relief to prevent future discrimina­tion.

“When a company learns of sexual harassment, it has a duty to protect its employee and correct any misconduct,” said Marcus G. Keegan, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office. “Instead, this company penalized its employee for exercising her federally protected rights by moving her to a less favorable position and reducing her pay. The EEOC will fight to protect the victims of this unlawful and unacceptable maltreatment.”

Darrell Graham, district director of the EEOC’s Atlanta office, said, “Employees should not have to face sexual harassment from co-workers or fear retaliation for seeking protection from it. We at the EEOC will continue to enforce the rights of employees who speak out against this kind of abuse in the workplace.”

EEOC Says Racism Rampant at 4 Companies

Racism is alive and well at some employers in Appalachia, the feds charged.

Four companies, one in West Virginia and three in Pennsylvania, violated federal law by subjecting their Black employees to racially hostile work environments and other unlawful discrimination, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in three separate lawsuits filed Sept. 14.

The EEOC filed the first racial harassment case against Coastal Drilling East, LLC (Coastal Drilling), a Pennsylvania-based company that provides geotechnical construction services in the natural gas industry. According to the lawsuit, an African American Rig Hand at Coastal Drilling’s Graysville, Pennsylvania, site was subjected to severe racial harassment by his coworkers, including being handed a noose, open display of nooses on other occasions, and persistent use of racial epithets such as “n****r” in reference to himself and other Black persons. A direct supervisor tolerated and participated in some of the racial harassment, the EEOC said. Coastal Drilling was aware of the racial harassment in its workplace but failed to take action to stop it from occurring, eventually forcing the Black worker to resign his employ­ment, the EEOC charged.   

The EEOC filed the second racial harassment case against Eureka Stone Quarry, Inc. and James D. Morrissey Inc. (JDM), affiliated Pennsylvania-based companies engaged in mining and sales of sand, stone and other materials and construction operations. According to the lawsuit, an African American heavy equipment operator at the companies’ quarry in Chalfont, Pennsylvania, was subjected to egregious racial harassment by coworkers for several years, including commonplace use of racial epithets such as “n****r,” threats of violence directed at the Black Lives Matter movement, and other offensive statements that reflected racial bias and stereotypes. The racial harassment became increasingly severe over time and eventually cul­minated in the Black worker being threatened with firearms, including an incident in which one of the harassers fired multiple shots from a rifle on company property while the African American worker was nearby and not long after the Black worker had driven past him, the EEOC charged. Eureka Stone and JDM were aware of the racial harassment but failed to take action to stop it from occurring, thereby forcing the African American worker to resign his employment, according to the lawsuit.    

The EEOC filed the third racial harassment case against UFP Ranson, LLC, a lumber manufacturer located in Jefferson County, West Virginia. UFP Ranson is a subsidiary of UFP Industries, Inc., a publicly traded corporation headquartered in Michigan with approximately 170 facilities worldwide. According to the lawsuit, UFP Ranson subjected a class of Black workers to severe racial harassment in the form of racial epithets such as “n****r,” other racially offensive statements, and, in at least one instance, threats of violence involving firearms. The EEOC also charged that a manager at UFP Ranson deliberately sought to force African American workers to quit their jobs, and the company created more onerous working con­ditions for Black workers relative to their White peers. One African American worker who is Muslim was also sub­jected to religious harassment and was eventually subjected to racially discriminatory and retali­atory discharge, according to the lawsuit. The EEOC said that UFP Ranson was aware of the racially hostile work environment at its facility but failed to take action to stop it. The EEOC’s lawsuit seeks relief for a class of current and former Black workers at Ranson’s West Virginia facility.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits racial harassment and other race discrimination in employment, as well as religious harassment and retaliation for opposing such practices or participating in Title VII proceedings. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania (U.S. EEOC v. Coastal Drilling East, LLC, Civil Action No. 2:21-cv-01220-JFC); U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (U.S. EEOC v. Eureka Stone Quarry, Inc. & James D. Morrissey Inc., Civil Action No. 2:21-cv-04060); and U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia (U.S. EEOC v. UFP Ranson, LLC, Civil Action No. 3:21-cv-00149-GMG), after first attempting to reach pre-litigation settlements through its conciliation process.

“Some people say that workplace racism in the United States has become more subtle, more covert, and perhaps less common than it was in decades past,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence. “But those of us who enforce federal anti-discrimination laws everyday know that on-the-job racial bigotry has not gone underground. Rather, it remains a pervasive problem that exists out in the open to be seen by anyone who bothers to look. The EEOC will not tolerate racial discrimination in employ­ment and will continue its efforts to uncover and eradicate that stain on our national conscience.”

EEOC Philadelphia District Director Jamie Williamson said, “We Americans have just observed Labor Day, our annual national holiday that honors the contributions and dignity of workers. But to truly honor our workers, we must respect their legal rights every single day, including their right to be free from racial harassment and other forms of job discrimination. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 imposes a duty upon employers to exercise care each day to ensure that workers can perform their labor in an environ­ment free from racial harassment, and the EEOC will be here to ensure that employers carry out that duty.” 

The lawsuits were commenced by the EEOC’s Pittsburgh Area Office, one of four component offices of the agency’s Philadelphia District Office. The Philadelphia District Office has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.

New England Fall: OSHA Spotlights Injury Prevention in Tree Trimming and Landscaping

The region that launched the American Revolution needs one when it comes to keeping workers safe when working with trees.

In Connecticut, a tree branch contacted a live high-voltage power line as a worker in an aerial lift cut it, electrocuting him. In Massachusetts, a falling tree branch struck and killed a worker cutting down oak trees, while a falling tree limb struck an elevated bucket lift, ejecting the worker whose fall was fatal. In nearby Rhode Island, a log conveyor rolled over a worker performing repairs, crushing and killing him.

These are among the 31 worker deaths in the tree trimming and removal, landscaping and site preparation industries since 2016 that the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration New England region has investigated. To reduce the risks workers in these industries face, OSHA’s Boston regional office has establishedRegional Emphasis Program that combines enforcement and outreach with employers.

“The number of fatalities, injuries and uncontrolled hazards in the tree and landscaping industries in New England is alarming and unacceptable. These incidents are preventable with proper training and effective safety procedures,” said OSHA Acting Regional Administrator Jeffrey Erskine in Boston. “We are taking this action to raise awareness and improve worker safety in these industries. The emphasis program will focus on the industry’s major hazards – falls, struck-by objects, electrocution, and vehicular and traffic hazards.” 

OSHA inspections have identified occurrences such as workers falling from trees and aerial lifts, being struck by falling trees and tree limbs, electrocution or shock from contact with live electrical wires, suffering lacerations caused by saws and other equipment, sustaining injuries from vehicle collisions and being struck by or caught between mechanical equipment.

The program’s initial phase includes outreach to employers, workers and stakeholder groups by each OSHA area office in New England prior to commencing enforcement activities in November 2021. This outreach can include presentations, informational mailings, articles in trade newsletters and other activities. OSHA will then conduct programmed inspections of tree, landscape and site preparation worksites. OSHA inspectors will also be able to open inspections on the spot if they observe hazardous conditions while traveling past worksites in the course of their duties.

OSHA encourages industry employers to take steps to identify, reduce and eliminate hazards related to tree trimming and site preparation and implement safety strategies during the REP’s initial phase.

The agency urges employers to use its free On-Site Consultation Program for advice on complying with OSHA standards.

Regional Emphasis Programs are enforcement strategies, designed and implemented at the regional and/or area office levels, to address hazards or industries that pose a particular risk to workers in the offices’ jurisdictions. This REP is in effect until Aug. 4, 2026.

NY Wedding Venue Forks Over $125K to Settle EEOC Lawsuit Alleging Cook Harassed Staffers

While couples celebrated, this chef made life miserable for the female workers.

A restaurant group that includes Liberty Warehouse, a popular Brooklyn, N.Y. wedding venue, agreed to pay $125,000 and provide extensive non-monetary relief to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced Friday.  That restaurant group includes the Manhattan restaurants and event spaces called The Water Club, The River Café, and Pershing Square.   

According to the EEOC, Liberty Warehouse’s head chef subjected a class of female kitchen staff to sexual harassment and sex discrimination that included unwanted touching, sexual comments, throwing objects at them, and belittling them based on their sex in front of coworkers. EEOC alleged the head chef made raises contingent on a female employee sleeping with him.  When she refused, he withheld a bonus, stopped assigning her hours, and ultimately fired her. When she reported this behavior to Liberty Warehouse and asked management to stop the harassment and reinstate her, the company refused.  

The EEOC alleged throughout this period, Liberty Warehouse lacked an anti-discrimination policy or training that might have prevented or corrected these unlawful acts.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, including sexual harassment, the creation of a hostile work environment, and retaliation.

The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York (EEOC v. Liberty Events, LLC d/b/a Liberty Warehouse., Civil Action No. 20-4631), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process. This case was litigated by EEOC Trial Attorneys Liane T. Rice and Kirsten Peters, supervised by Supervisory Trial Attorney Sara Smolik.

The three-and-a-half-year consent decree entered on September 16, 2021 includes the creation of a $125,000 claims fund for backpay, emotional distress, and other damages suffered by the harmed employees.  The decree also includes substantial non-monetary relief, including the creation of anti-discrimination policies; development of trainings for managers and employees; a requirement that policies and trainings be provided in English and Spanish; one-on-one training for the chef; removal of the chef’s sole authority over hiring, firing, and pay decisions; a monitoring period; and periodic reporting to the EEOC.

“The EEOC is committed to protecting vulnerable food service workers from sexual harassment,” said Trial Attorney Liane Rice. “That work depends on employees like the brave women here who were willing to speak out against abuse.”

“Restaurants and event spaces ignore improper behavior in their kitchens at their own risk,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Jeffrey Burstein. “For such misconduct often involves unlawful discrimination, including not only sexual harassment but also demeaning treatment based on an employee’s protected characteristics.”  

The EEOC’s New York District Director, Judy Keenan, said, “The best practice is to prevent unlawful discrimination before it occurs, through anti-discrimination policies, training, oversight, and commitment to an equitable workplace.”

The EEOC’s New York District Office is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in New York, northern New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

Bad Crop: Women, Hispanics Victims of Illegal Treatment at Ginseng Grower, EEOC Suit Alleges

Down on the farm there was a lot of harm inflicted on female and Hispanic workers, the feds say.

A major agricultural company in central Wisconsin, Baumann Farms, violated civil rights law when it subjected female employees to a hostile work environment, and then fired them in retaliation for opposition to sexual harassment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed in Wisconsin om Tuesday. The EEOC also charged Baumann Farms with national origin discrimination against Hispanic employees.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the employees worked for Baumann Farms from April 2018 to August 2019 as farm workers. Baumann Farms, located on 500 acres in Wausau, Wisconsin, is the largest grower and producer of ginseng in the Midwest. The female employees were harassed by their male supervisor, who propositioned them for sex, sent them sexually explicit photographs and texts, touched them inappropriately, and subjected them to sex-based derogatory comments and threats of physical harm. The employees were also fired for opposing the sexual harassment, according to the EEOC’s lawsuit. The EEOC also charged that Baumann Farms subjected a class of similarly situated female employees to a hostile work environment based on sex.

Further, the EEOC said that Baumann Farms has an English-only policy that discriminates against non-English-speaking Hispanic employees based on national origin.

This alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it unlawful to discriminate against employees because of their sex or national origin. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Baumann Farms, LLP., Civil Action No. 3:21-cv-00579) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks back pay, and compensatory and punitive damages as well as injunctive relief.

“Sexual harassment violates the law and this case shows that female farm workers are extremely vulnerable to harassment in the workplace,” said Julianne Bowman, district director of the EEOC’s Chicago District. “Discrimination against agricultural workers is a problem that the EEOC will continue to vigorously pursue.”

Gregory Gochanour, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Chicago District, said, “An employer cannot fire employees because they oppose sexual harassment. Further, an employer may not have an English-only policy like the one in this case that is not justified by business necessity, because it discriminates against non-English-speaking employees based on national origin. Prosecuting such violations of Title VII is critical to ensuring that the law fulfills its purpose.”

The EEOC’s legal team in its Milwaukee and Minneapolis Area Offices will conduct the litigation under the management of the agency’s Chicago District Office. That office is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement and litigation in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

Mopping Up: Cleaning Co. Forks Over $310K to Settle EEOC Charges It Harassed Women Staff

Sexual harassment came at a steep price at this facilities services company.

ABM Industry Groups, LLC (ABM), a facility management services company, has settled federal charges of sexual harassment filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for $310,000 and other injunctive relief, the federal agency announced Thursday.

According to charges made to the EEOC, ABM subjected a class of female employees to persistent sexual harassment, including unwanted touching and sexual advances, vulgar phone calls, unwelcome sexually explicit gifts, and creating a hostile work environment.

The EEOC investigated the allegations and found reasonable cause to believe that ABM violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Resolution in the matter was attained through the EEOC’s pre-litigation administrative conciliation process.

Without admitting liability, ABM has agreed to enter into a 42-month conciliation agreement with the EEOC. The company has agreed to pay $310,000 in compensatory damages. In addition, the company has agreed to hire or appoint an equal employment opportunity consultant to help ensure that training and reporting procedures comply with Title VII and the agreement. ABM will maintain and keep a centralized repository system for discrimination complaints; revise its discrimination and harassment policies as appropriate; review and revise its investigation procedures policy; increase distribution of company policies; and provide a Spanish translation and Spanish audio recording of its EEO policies.  

ABM will also update its compliance hotline forms to include pictorial graphics depicting the company’s prohibition against sexual harassment and develop a reference card available for its employees with the phone numbers to ABM’s compliance hotline and employee relations. The company will also develop a video depicting acceptable behavior in the workplace, bystander intervention, and an explanation of the prohibition of sexual harassment with examples. Employees who are covered under the job titles janitor, cleaner and other similar positions within ABM will be required to attend an annual training program. ABM has also agreed to conduct climate surveys, adopt standard operating protocols, and have a goal of increasing women in supervisor and management positions. The EEOC will monitor compliance with this agreement.

“Harassment in the workplace can fester if not addressed immediately,” said Melissa Barrios, director of the EEOC’s Fresno Local Office. “We encourage employees who are experiencing harassment or discrimination, or those who witness it, to report it. Addressing workplace harassment is one of the six national priorities for the EEOC. We commend ABM for addressing these allegations by introducing numerous measures to prevent harassment and educate employees in the workplace. Employers should review their current policies and practices to confirm that they are compliant with federal law.”

Preventing workplace harassment through systemic litigation and investigation is one of the six national priorities identified by the Commission’s Strategic Enforcement Plan.

Bad Odor: Poultry Provider Still Violating Safety Rules Following Workers’ Death, OSHA Finds

Food production is important–but at what cost to workers’ safety?

On Jan. 28, 2021, an uncontrolled release of liquid nitrogen at a Gainesville poultry processing facility claimed the lives of six workers. Less than two months later, workers were again subjected to a chemical release at the plant, after an ammonia leak on March 11.

A U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation identified 23 safety and health violations at the facility. OSHA cited Foundation Food Group Inc. for exposing workers to dermal and respiratory hazards associated with the potential unexpected release of anhydrous ammonia and for failing to install a system that protected employees.

In addition, OSHA found Foundation Food Group failed to:

  • Guard horizontal shafts on conveyors, which exposed workers to caught-in hazards.
  • Provide adequate training and ensure workers used locks to isolate hazardous energy while servicing conveyors.
  • Label electrical breakers, cover unused openings in electrical boxes, and use electrical devices as designed, which exposed workers to electrical-shock hazards.
  • Provide fall protection while working from equipment at heights over 4 feet.
  • Require employees use eye protection while working with compressed air.
  • Provide adequate hearing protection, testing, and training for employees exposed to high levels of noise.
  • Maintain drainage in areas of wet processes, exposing employees to slip hazards.

The agency proposed $154,674 in penalties.

“There is no situation where employees should be expected to risk serious injury or death, especially on the heels of a tragic incident that took the lives of six co-workers,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Jim Frederick. “Foundation Food Group has again flouted their responsibility to assess workplace hazards and ensure measures are taken to protect employees. This is unacceptable and OSHA will continue its mission to hold employers accountable.”

Foundation Food Group Inc. provides fully cooked and precooked poultry products to food service and retail clients, and national restaurant chains.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

EEOC: Eatery Failed Autistic Worker under ADA

This employer knew an employee needed an accommodation, but failed to provide it, the feds charged.

RCC Partners, LLC, doing business as Subway 701 in Buckeye, Arizona, violated federal law when it failed to accommodate an employee with autism and ADHD and then fired because he had a disability and/or need for accommodation, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed on Friday.According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Subway 701 hired Kenneth Wiley in 2019 after his mother explained to the restaurant that Wiley needed accommodations because of his disability. The EEOC said that Subway 701 knew from that conversation that Wiley would need specific instructions for tasks, re¬direction, and someone to follow up to make sure he understood the task. But, the EEOC said, Subway did not provide those accommodations when Wiley started work. Instead, Subway 701 fired Wiley after only four shifts because of his disability and/or his need for accommodation.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona (EEOC v. RCC Partners, LLC d/b/a Subway 701, Case No. 2:21-cv-01551) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

“Individuals with autism unfortunately still face incredibly high levels of unemployment and underemployment,” said EEOC Phoenix District Office Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill. “The EEOC will continue to fight the discrimination that helps keep so many people with autism from full employment.”

The district director of the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office, Elizabeth Cadle, said, “Employers must take the time to carefully consider whether an employee can perform the essential job functions with or without a reasonable accommodation. If they do not consider reasonable accommodations, they may lose an excellent employee—and violate the law.”

The EEOC’s Phoenix District Office has jurisdiction for Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and part of New Mexico.

Largesse: DOL Shells Out $6.7M in Grants to Nonprofits for Workplace Safety Improvements

The feds are keeping the money spigot open in helping employers provide safer workplaces for their workers.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration last Wednesday announced the award of more than $6.7 million in grants to 37 nonprofit organizations nationwide to fund education and training programs to help workers and employers recognize infectious diseases, including coronavirus health hazards, and identify preventive measures for a safe workplace. In addition to hazard control, the training will also include understanding worker rights and employer responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.

AgriSafe Network based in Peosta, Iowa, received a $200,000 grant to provide one hour of coronavirus training to 600 employers and workers in the agricultural industry including limited‐English-speaking workers. Training will include contact tracing to prevent coronavirus transmission and zoonotic diseases in agriculture and the development of English and Spanish language training materials.

The award includes “Workplace Safety and Health Training on Infectious Diseases, including the Coronavirus” grants funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The grants derive from the Susan Harwood Workplace Safety and Health Training program, named for in honor of the late Susan Harwood, former director of OSHA’s Office of Risk Assessment. In her 17-year OSHA career, she helped develop federal standards to protect workers from bloodborne pathogens, cotton dust, benzene, formaldehyde, asbestos, and lead in construction.

The program funds grants to nonprofit organizations, including community and faith-based groups, employer associations, labor unions, joint labor-management associations, colleges and universities. Target trainees include small-business employers and underserved vulnerable workers in high-hazard industries. These grants are a critical element in supporting OSHA’s role in educating workers on their rights and assisting employers with providing safe workplaces.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s workers by setting and enforcing standards and providing training, education, and assistance. For more information, visit

Learn more about the 2021 Susan Harwood Training Grant Program recipients.