Imagine that you’ve nearly completed the requirements of your four-year—that’s eight terms—apprenticeship program, and with two weeks to go before graduation and promotion to journeyman status, you’re expelled.
This happened to a black apprentice attending a school affiliated with the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee of Sheet Metal Workers Local 25, which represents sheet metal workers in counties throughout northern New Jersey, NJ.com reports.
Now he will receive a settlement for $34,500 from the JATC, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced Monday, according to NJ.com.
The apprentice alleged that racial discrimination led to his early release from the school; however, the JATC denied that it discriminated against him, according to a release from its attorney, Bennett D. Zurofsky, reports NJ.com. Zurofsky explained that the settlement is part of a voluntary consent decree and implies no admission of guilt.
EEOC New York District Office Director Kevin Berry said of the resolution, “The EEOC is pleased that Local 25 JATC worked with us to reach this settlement, which will benefit not only the individual who was harmed but all apprentices who come after him.”
This wasn’t the first grievance the apprentice had raised against the school: He had previously complained about insufficient training from “biased contractors,” the EEOC said in a statement, NJ.com notes.
The settlement, which was approved by Judge Lewis A. Kaplan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, also calls for the JATC to make substantial improvements in how it evaluates and tracks the progress of its trainees and appoints an ombudsperson to manage students’ complaints.
The EEOC said on its website that it will track how well the school adheres to court orders, NJ.com reports.
Read more at NJ.com.