EEOC takes on BHP mine in suit

THE US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed suit against BHP Billiton’s San Juan Coal claiming that it is discriminating against female workers, a charge the mine has vehemently denied.

Donna Schmidt

According to the Associated Press, the EEOC alleged in documentation filed in federal court that San Juan violated the Civil Rights Act by discriminating based on sex and wants the affected workers to receive back pay and damage compensation while installing a discrimination policy at the complex.

Specifically, it said, women at the mine have not been given higher-paying job opportunities involving the operation of larger equipment.

In its suit, the EEOC added that the longwall operation in northwestern New Mexico must be prohibited from any further practices that can exclude based on gender.

While ILN did not receive comments from mine officials by press time, San Juan spokesman Charles Roybal told the AP that no discriminatory practices exist and the company will fight the lawsuit.

“San Juan Coal Co is an equal opportunity employer and we believe we have an exemplary record in the hiring and advancement of females and minorities," he said.

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