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Press Release 05-05-2017

Automation Personnel Services to Pay $50,000 to Settle EEOC Lawsuit for Sex Discrimination

Federal Agency Charged Staffing Agency With Refusing to Hire Women

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Automation Personnel Services, Inc., a Pelham, Ala.-based staffing agency, will pay $50,000 and furnish other relief to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

The EEOC charged in its suit that Automation subjected Andrea Williams to discrimination based on her gender. The EEOC alleged that on July 11, 2012, Williams attended a career fair in Lafayette, La., and attempted to apply for a shipping-and-receiving position with an employer for whom Automation was recruiting and referring multiple applicants. Automation's recruiter refused to interview Williams or consider her for these open positions, telling her, "This is a man's job," the job is "not suitable for women," and "the work is difficult." Automation referred approximately 55 applicants to that employer between June and December 2012, only one of whom was female, the EEOC charged.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects employees and applicants against discrimination practices based on sex. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Automation Personnel Services, Inc., Case No. 2:16-CV-00996) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, Southern Division, after an investigation was com­pleted by the EEOC's Birmingham District Office and after the agency first attempted to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency sought back pay for Williams, along with compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive relief.

According to the terms of the consent decree settling the suit, which was approved by the court on May 4, 2017, Automation will pay $50,000 to settle the lawsuit. The agreement also requires Automa­tion to actively promote supervisory accountability for discrimination prevention; provide anti-discrim­ination training specific to those Automation managers and employees who play a role in the hiring process; and provide bi-annual training reports to the EEOC for two years in Automation's locations in Birmingham and Baton Rouge and New Orleans, La.

"Automation is to be commended for its commitment to settle this case in the early stages of litigation, thereby avoiding extensive legal proceedings," said Marsha L. Rucker, regional attorney for the EEOC's Birmingham District Office. "Discrimination prevention is the key to ensuring equal opportunities at work for both women and men. We are pleased that Automation will implement extensive measures to protect applicants' rights."

Delner Franklin-Thomas, director of the EEOC's Birmingham District Office, added, "Gender bias continues to be a problem in today's workplace. It is important for employers to recognize the need to address sex discrimination immediately so that the problem does not continue."

Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring is one of six national priorities identified by EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan.

The EEOC's Birmingham District consists of Alabama, Mississippi (except 17 northern counties) and the Florida Panhandle.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at  Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.