Landmark Sex Discrimination Settlement for ERA Gold Miner Client
June 13. 2019
For Immediate Release
Jun 13, 2019
SAN FRANCISCO — Jennifer Reisch, Legal Director of Equal Rights Advocates, issued the following statement on the U.S District Court’s approval yesterday of a $690,000 consent decree resolving the sex discrimination and retaliation lawsuit brought on behalf of ERA gold miner client Hanna Hurst:
“When Hanna Hurst came to Equal Rights Advocates (ERA) for help, she was the only woman working underground at the Pogo gold mine in Alaska. Over nearly seven years working there as a miner, she was repeatedly denied training and promotion opportunities and faced harassment that she described as rougher than any she endured serving in the military in Iraq. When that unequal treatment and harassment turned to retaliation and threats to her physical safety, she decided that enough was enough. ERA helped her file a charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 2014 and intervened on her behalf when the EEOC sued the mine last year.
Not only is the $690,000 settlement approved by the U.S. District Court of Alaska one of the largest in a case of this kind, it is an affirmation of our client Hanna’s courageand a testament to the power of speaking one’s truth. By agreeing to compensate Hanna and to work with an outside expert to make robust changes to its anti-discrimination policies, training protocols, and promotion practices that will hold managers, supervisors, and trainers accountable for treating workers fairly, Northern Star (Pogo) LLC, the company now operating Pogo mine, is demonstrating a genuine commitment to ensuring equal opportunity.
The path to the middle class should be open to people of all genders. Access to non-traditional, blue-collar jobs is vital to our economy and to women’s well-being. But sex-based discrimination remains all too common in these industries and occupations, and the risks and costs of reporting it can be severe. This makes vigorous enforcement action as imperative as it is rare. ERA salutes Hanna for her bravery and persistence, and we commend the EEOC for taking decisive action in her case.”
Equal Rights Advocates is a national civil rights organization dedicated to protecting and expanding economic and educational access and opportunities for women and girls, with a long history of representing women in male-dominated industries who want to stand up for fairness and dignity at work. For more information on ERA’s advocacy work, visit equalrights.org