EEOC Case Addresses Rights of Temporary (Contingent) Workers
San Francisco - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced a $600,000 settlement of an employment discrimination lawsuit against San Francisco-based game developer Sega of America, Inc., and Spherion Corporation (NYSE: SFN), a staffing, recruiting and outsourcing company with more than 800 locations in nine countries. The EEOC lawsuit charged that Sega directed Spherion to terminate temporary employees placed at Sega's testing department. The EEOC asserted that 13 Filipino game testers were fired due to their national origin and, at the same time, five other testers fired in retaliation for their friendship with an employee who had threatened to file a complaint alleging preferential treatment of Filipino employees.
Under the Consent Decree, the 18 former employees will be paid $456,000 from Sega and $144,000 from Spherion, for a total of $600,000. Both Sega and Spherion, without admitting liability, have also agreed to conduct training to prevent future discrimination. In addition, Spherion will update its anti-discrimination policies according to the EEOC's guidelines on contingent workers, and seek to recruit Filipino employees to its San Francisco Bay Area offices by placing advertisements in a local Filipino newspaper.
Jeff Sideño, one of the game testers named in the case, noted, "This was a job in an industry I'm passionate about, so losing it was devastating. As a temp worker, you wonder what kind rights you have. I hope this outcome will encourage others to come forward to the EEOC and report discrimination."
EEOC Regional Attorney William R. Tamayo stated, "National origin discrimination is one of the fastest growing types of charge filings with EEOC nationwide, increasing 28% since the mid - 1990's from 7,035 in FY1995 to 9,046 in FY2002. In view of the diversity of California and the country, we remind companies that the law strictly prohibits targeting employees due to their national origin. The EEOC also asserts that it is illegal to fire the friends of an employee who complains of discrimination for no other reason than their association with him."
EEOC District Director H. Joan Ehrlich commented, "Temporary workers are a critical segment of our workforce, so it is vital to emphasize that they are also protected against discrimination. Temp agencies have an obligation to oppose and remedy discrimination at client work sites when they learn that the client has discriminated against the staffing firm's workers."
"We commend Sega and Spherion for working to resolve this matter," Ms. Ehrlich added. "It's significant that Spherion is incorporating the EEOC's guidelines on contingent workers into their anti-discrimination policies I encourage all temp agencies to review these rules" available on the EEOC's web site at http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/conting.html.
The EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991; the Equal Pay Act; and Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The San Francisco District's jurisdiction includes Northern and Central California, Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, Wake Island and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. For more information about EEOC, please visit www.eeoc.gov.
This page was last modified on March 25, 2004.
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