Company Illegally Granted Placement Preferences to Hispanic Temps over Black Temps, Federal Agency Charged
MEMPHIS, Tenn.-Resource Employment Solutions, LLC (Resource), a temporary staffing agency headquartered in Orlando, Fla., will pay $435,000 to settle a race and national origin discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
EEOC charged that the staffing agency had violated federal law by failing to place a class of African American workers into temporary shipping positions at a FedEx SmartPost location in Southaven, Miss., because of their race and non-Hispanic national origin. Instead Resource granted placement preferences to Hispanic workers. EEOC had also charged that Resource retaliated against an African-American employee who complained of the discrimination by refusing to place her and denying her a promotion. Finally, EEOC had alleged that Resource failed to meet its record-keeping obligations.
The alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. EEOC filed suit (3:14-cv-00217-MPM-SAA) against Resource in September of 2014 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
The four-year consent decree settling the suit provides that Resource will pay $435,000 to a class of former African American temporary workers and prohibits further discrimination. The decree includes additional provisions for anti-discrimination training, reporting, and postings. A trial had been scheduled for January 2017. In the suit and consent decree Resource denied any wrongdoing.
"EEOC will continue to scrutinize the placement practices of temp agencies to ensure that irrelevant factors such as race and national origin play no role in staffing decisions," said C. Emanuel Smith, EEOC Birmingham Regional Attorney. "We are pleased that Resource has committed itself to placing temporary employees based on merit."
Faye Williams, EEOC Memphis Regional Attorney, added "Temp workers and other members of the 'gig economy' frequently live on the margins of society. This case should serve notice to employers that EEOC will not hesitate to step in and vigorously defend the rights of these often invisible workers."
EEOC has made eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring one of its six Strategic Enforcement Priorities. https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/plan/sep.cfm
The case was litigated on behalf of the Birmingham and Memphis District Offices by Trial Attorneys Christopher Woolley and Carrie Vance, along with Supervisory Trial Attorney Gerald Thornton.
EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about EEOC is available on the agency's web site at www.eeoc.gov.