CRH subsidiary agrees settlement after alleged discrimination

US-subsidiary alleged to have discriminated against female, African American applicants

A US subsidiary of Irish building materials giant CRH agreed to pay $300,000 (€265,715) in back wages and interest after the company was alleged to have discriminated against female and African American applicants who applied for positions as glass workers at a facility in Georgia.

In the conciliation agreement with the US department of labour, Oldcastle Building Envelope (OBE), the fully-owned subsidiary, did not accept the allegations.

The department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) alleged that Oldcastle discriminated in favour of white and male applicants against the female and African American applicants.

The company said the allegations arise from a statistical analysis of applicant data for one job position at one site during the period from June 2014 to June 2016. It noted that the OFCCP “routinely selected federal contractors at random for audits each year”.


The company said it disputes OFCCP’s “methodology for analysing the data and denies all allegations of discrimination. OBE settled this matter to avoid the expense and resource cost of an audit that has already lasted several years.”


The office found the alleged discrimination to be a violation of an executive order which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating in employment based on race, national origin or gender. In addition to paying back wages and interest, Oldcastle agreed to provide job opportunities to 49 affected applicants, the US department said in a statement.

"Oldcastle Building Envelope is working co-operatively with the US department of labour to resolve this matter and has committed to providing equal employment opportunities," Samuel Maiden, a southeast regional director for the OFCCP, said.

“The company will also take steps to ensure its personnel practices, including recruitment, record keeping and internal auditing procedures comply with the law,” the statement said.

Oldcastle Building Envelope supplies architectural glass for federal projects, and is contracted on a project for the US federal court house in Miami, Florida.

CRH is the State’s seventh-largest company according to The Irish Times top 1,000. It employs more than 80,300 people across the world at over 3,100 locations, according to its annual report.

‘Not tolerate’

A CRH spokesman told The Irish Times that the company has “clear and established policies in relation to inclusion and diversity regarding our workforce”.

“We do not tolerate discrimination in any form and operate in strict adherence to local labour laws in each of our markets.

“All of our businesses are expected to operate in line with our code of business conduct which expressly states that recruitment, selection and promotion decisions must be made on individual merit and in line with the principles of equal opportunity and non-discrimination.”

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business