Monday, February 15, 2010

Justice for Bianca: A construction site safety supervisor dies in a fire after filing a $20 million sexual harassment suit

Bianca was working as a safety supervisor on a Manhattan construction site owned by the banking firm JP Morgan Chase, when she was sexually harassed by co-worker Steve Greco. When she attempted to complain to her employer, Total Safety Consulting, she was ignored and eventually fired and replaced by a man. She consulted a lawyer who helped her file a sexual harassment lawsuit against these three parties. On the eve of the first preliminary conference on her case, Bianca died in a suspicious fire in her home.

Bianca worked in one of the most sexually segregated industries in the nation. Women have been trying to enter the construction trades for three decades but their participation rate has hovered around a mere 2% of all construction jobs. Construction jobs are among the few high-paying blue-collar jobs available in this country and women have systematically been denied access to them. Those who are lucky enough to be hired in construction jobs face extreme isolation from other women and across-the-board discrimination from unions, contractors and co-workers, often taking the form of overt sexual harassment and threats of physical violence. Bianca worked in a situation where there was literally no one to turn to for help. We applaud her bravery in standing up to fight, not just for herself, but for all working women and particularly those working in the construction industry. We also applaud both her attorney and her young daughters for vowing to continue her lawsuit.

On behalf of Bianca, her daughters and women working in the construction industry or hoping to work there in the future, we demand a full investigation of the circumstances surrounding Bianca’s death.

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Justice for Bianca wants probe into fatal building fire

Last Updated: 10:39 AM, December 1, 2009

Posted: 12:45 PM, November 25, 2009

Bianca Kuros, 44, died in the fire in her fifth-floor apartment in the Pomonok Houses near the intersection of 71st Avenue and Parsons Boulevard, according to the police. Kuros was slated to appear in federal court in Manhattan the day after the fire for a hearing on the lawsuit she filed this summer against her former employer, Total Safety Consulting, according to court documents.


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