A Vineland company must pay $400,000 to resolve state allegations that it violated employment rules by not hiring female plumbers for jobs that included millions of dollars worth of publicly funded projects.

State officials said the settlement requires Falasca Mechanical Inc. and Plumbers and Pipefitters Union Local 322 to launch a cooperative effort to increase female recruitment into the union.

Falasca will pay the state $250,000 to settle accusations it violated N.J. Equal Employment Opportunity rules, according to acting State Attorney General John Hoffman and the state Division on Civil Rights.

The company also will pay $140,000 to Bette Feldstein, a journeyman plumber laid off by Falasca for economic reasons in January 2009, state officials said. Feldstein was eventually passed over by Falasca and the union for work on a hospital construction project even though she was more qualified than the male plumbers hired to do the work, they said.

State civil rights officials said Falasca failed to hire or request a single female plumber for contracts involving schools, municipal and state buildings, a hospital and prison that brought the company $93 million in revenue.

“This is a significant settlement, not only in monetary terms, but in terms of ensuring future compliance with New Jersey’s (anti-discrimination and EEO) hiring rules,” Hoffman said. “This should serve as a reminder to other contractors, particularly those who are classified by our (state) Department of Treasury as eligible to compete for public works projects (that) we are serious about equal opportunity in hiring and will take action against any employer who fails to follow the law in this area.”

Falasca admitted no wrongdoing or liability in the settlement, which requires the company to:

n Keep records of its efforts to reach targeted hiring goals for women for every public contract it is awarded;

n Develop its own anti-discrimination and EEO rules;

n Provide its project managers, foremen, hiring personnel and Local 322’s business manager with mandatory training regarding those rules.

Local 322 is a nonpaying party to the settlement.

Contact Thomas Barlas:

609-226-9197

Senior copy editor for the Press of Atlantic City. Have worked as a reporter, copy editor and news editor with the paper since 1985. A graduate of the University of Delaware.