Acting Secretary Su to induct sweatshop workers, LGBTQ+ trailblazers into Department of Labor's Hall of Honor

Thai garment workers, Gerald Bostock, Donald Zarda, Aimee Stephens to be honored

WASHINGTON - August 31, 2023 - To celebrate and recognize extraordinary individuals whose distinctive contributions to the field of labor elevated working conditions, wages and overall quality of life of America's working families, the U.S. Department of Labor today announced new inductees into its Hall of Honor.

The inductions will begin on Sept. 18 with a ceremony at which Acting Secretary Julie Su will honor the hall's first 2023 inductees, the El Monte Thai Garment Workers.

In August 1995, federal agents found 72 Thai workers toiling in a garment sweatshop in El Monte, California, sparking a national outcry and leading to a landmark case against human trafficking and forced labor. Through sheer determination and perseverance, the workers defied the odds and fought bravely for the freedom, rights and protections long denied to them. Their case galvanized significant changes in U.S. labor and immigration law. The workers remained in the U.S. and were provided a path to citizenship.

"The El Monte Thai garment workers serve as a lasting reminder of the importance of the Department of Labor's mission to protect rights of all workers," said Acting Secretary Su. "The importance of their contributions to labor and changes in federal labor and immigration laws cannot be understated. We are proud to recognize and welcome them to the department's Hall of Honor."

The department also announced that three individuals - Gerald Bostock, Donald Zarda and Aimee Stephens - will be inducted for their collective dedication to advancing workplace protections for the LGBTQ+ community. Each of their stories reflect the vital contributions they made to increasing workplace equity:

Bostock, Stephens and the Zarda family pursued their cases to the U.S. Supreme Court, and in June 2020 the court issued a 6-3 decision in the case of Bostock v. Clayton County ruling that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The department recognizes Gerald Bostock, Donald Zarda and Aimee Stephens for their steadfast dedication to advancing workplace protections for the LGBTQ+ community.

Induction ceremonies for Bostock, Stephens and Zarda will be announced at a later date.

Established in 1988, the Hall of Honor is located inside the north plaza of the department's Frances Perkins Building at 200 Constitution Ave NW in Washington.

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