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PRESS RELEASE
7-18-16

Federal Judge Awards EEOC $179,000 Default Judgment Against Workplace Staffing Solutions For Sex Discrimination

Louisiana Staffing Firm Failed to Hire Six Qualified Women Because of Their Sex While Hiring Only Men, Federal Agency Charged

JACKSON, Miss. - A federal judge has ruled in favor of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in its sex discrimination lawsuit against a Louisiana staffing firm, the federal agency announced today.

The EEOC had charged that Workplace Staffing Solutions, LLC, which operates an office in Gulfport, Miss., violated federal law when it failed to hire six women for residential temporary trashcan collector (RTCC) positions in Harrison County, Miss., because of their gender.

Chief U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola, Jr. ordered Workplace Staffing to pay $179,000 in total monetary damages according to the default judgment entered on July 7.

EEOC initially filed suit against Workplace Staffing in October 2015, charging that in September 2012, Workplace Staffing prevented qualified females, including Jonika Walton, from applying for an open RTCC position. Walton was told by a company representative the position was a "male-only" job. The court also found that Workplace Staffing denied at least five other qualified women the opportunity to apply for such positions because of their sex. Workplace Staffing told one woman it had only "industrial jobs that are usually for men," while another was told that the RTCC job was "more of a job for a guy."

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it unlawful for employers to refuse to hire any individual because of sex. EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Workplace Staffing Solutions, L.L.C., Case No. 1:15cv360LG-RHW) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi after EEOC's Mobile Local Office completed an investigation and the agency first attempted to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

After being served with notice of EEOC's suit, the company failed to respond EEOC's allegations, and, as a result, the court found Workplace Staffing liable for discriminatory conduct and awarded monetary relief totaling $179,000, including punitive damages, compensatory damages and back pay.

"Sex discrimination continues to be a barrier for women seeking employment," said C. Emanuel Smith, regional attorney for EEOC's Birmingham District Office. "EEOC believes this is a significant problem for women who seek temporary employment through some staffing agencies. The law demands that women receive equal employment opportunities. Employers are not allowed to presume that women would not be interested in performing certain types of jobs. EEOC stands ready to stop these violations in court, if necessary."

Delner Franklin-Thomas, district director for EEOC's Birmingham District, added, "Too many employment agencies and other employers continue to make hiring decisions based on sex or stereotypes that certain jobs, or types of jobs, are not suitable for women. EEOC will continue to use appropriate means to ensure that women receive equal consideration for all jobs, as the law requires."

In fiscal year 2015, EEOC received over 26,000 charges alleging sex discrimination nationwide.

EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. EEOC's Birmingham District consists of Alabama, Mississippi (except 17 northern counties) and the Florida Panhandle. Further information about EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.