Press Release


The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission


WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today the release of the Enforcement Guidance on Application of EEO Laws to Contingent Workers Placed by Temporary Employment Agencies and Other Staffing Firms. The guidance clarifies how the employment discrimination statutes apply to individuals who are hired by temporary employment agencies, contract firms, and other staffing firms, but whose working conditions are controlled in whole or in part by the businesses to which they are assigned.

The guidance, written in a user-friendly question-and-answer format, makes clear that contingent workers are generally covered under the anti-discrimination statutes because they typically qualify as "employees" of the staffing firm, the client to whom they are assigned, or both. As such, included among the guidance's points of clarification are that

  • Staffing firms and their clients may not discriminate against these workers on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability, and
  • A staffing firm must take immediate and appropriate corrective action if it learns that its client has discriminated against one of the staffing firm's employees.

In addition, the guidance points out that workers in welfare-to-work programs who are assigned jobs are covered under the anti-discrimination laws in the same way that other workers are covered.

"There has been explosive growth in the contingent workforce in recent years and a disproportionate number of these workers are women and minorities," said EEOC Chairman Gilbert F. Casellas. "It is important for the Commission to provide clear and comprehensive guidance on the coverage of equal employment opportunity laws with respect to these workers."

The text of the guidance will be available on EEOC's web site at shortly after the release of the document. You can also obtain a copy by writing to EEOC's Office of Communications and Legislative Affairs, 1801 L Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20507.

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, which prohibits discrimination against individuals 40 years of age or older; sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991; the Equal Pay Act; Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in the private sector and state and local governments; and the Rehabilitation Act's prohibitions against disability discrimination in the federal government.

This page was last modified on December 8, 1997.