- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 23, 2020

BALTIMORE (AP) - A federal judge ordered a Baltimore-based contractor to pay employees nearly $1 million in back wages and damages for race and gender discrimination as well as physical abuse.

WMS Solutions, an asbestos removal staffing firm, was ordered Monday to pay more than $960,000 to resolve a 2015 lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Labor alleging harassment and discrimination against Hispanic workers, The Baltimore Sun reported.

The judge found the company violated federal equal employment opportunity rules between early 2011 and the beginning of 2012 by using race and ethnicity as a “determining factor” to intentionally hire Hispanic workers over those of other races, the newspaper said.

Once hired, some employees reported to managers that they had been struck with objects, dragged and punched in the face and chest at work sites, according to the judge’s order.

The firm was also accused of giving women lower-paying jobs and paying them less per hour than male workers.



“The harassment reported by the employees working for WMS was horrific,” said Oscar L. Hampton III, the Labor Department’s regional solicitor.

WMS Solutions was working on projects involving the General Services Administration, National Institutes of Health and the Navy when the discrimination and harassment happened, The Sun previously reported.

The newspaper said it could not reach representatives of WMS for comment Monday.

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