While employers have discretion in making assignments and can justify certain limitations in duties, a construction company’s refusal to let a female employee work at elevation led to a discrimination claim that is now moving forward to trial.
The plaintiff worked for Performance Contractors, a construction company that was contracted to work at a chemical manufacturing complex. Performance hired the plaintiff in December 2016 as a laborer and then, after a layoff, rehired her as a helper. This was a promotion, as laborers do administrative work and cleaning, while helpers have a more hands-on role. They follow pipefitters and welders around the site to help with construction on the ground or at elevation.