New York utility company Con Edison will be forced to pay $3.8 million to more than 300 of its women workers who were subjected to sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination.

Con Edison, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the New York attorney general’s office reached the joint settlement this week, ending a government investigation that began in 2007.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said:

“This agreement sends a clear message to employers across New York State:  All women, including those working in male-dominated work-places, are entitled to equal justice under law.”

The female field workers who filed the complaints said male co-workers frequently made lewd remarks towards them and created a hostile work environment. They reported they were routinely denied on-the-job training, promotions and overtime. Women workers also claim they weren’t even given the same access to safety gear that their male colleagues had.

One female employee called working for Con Edison “a constant fight,” explaining:

“I have learned to toughen it out just so I can be able to maintain employment. Our opinions don’t matter. If we have a discrepancy, we are labeled angry black women, or just angry women. It’s still a little boys club. They’ll team up against us.”

In addition to the hefty payout, Con Edison will have to hire an independent equal employment opportunity specialist to train employees.

Media Resources: EEOC press release 9/10/15; NY Daily News 9/9/15;

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