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Press Release 06-20-2016

EEOC Sues Automation Personnel Services, Inc.  For Sex Discrimination

Staffing Agency Refused to Hire Qualified Applicant Because of Her Gender, Federal Agency Charges

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Automation Personnel Services, Inc., a Pelham, Ala.-based staffing agency, violated federal law by failing to consider or hire a qualified woman for placement with a fiberglass grating product manufacturer because of her sex, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed on Friday.

According to EEOC's suit, Automation Personnel Services, Inc. refused to hire Andrea Williams, an applicant for an advertised shipping/receiving position. Automation advertised the position as part of a Lafayette, La., career fair sponsored by the Lafayette Business & Career Solutions Center. When Williams attempted to apply for the shipping/receiving position at the job fair, Automation's onsite representative told her that "this is a man's job" and the job is "not suitable for women," EEOC said. Williams was not allowed by the representative to apply for the position. EEOC said Automation hired 55 people for placement with the fiberglass company in late 2012, and only one was female.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects employees and applicants against discrimination practices based on race, color, national origin, sex, and religion. 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 EEOC's Birmingham District Office and after the agency first attempted to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its administrative conciliation process. The agency seeks back pay for Williams, along with compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive relief.

"Employers, including staffing agencies, cannot refuse to hire women based on outdated presumptions that women are not capable of performing certain types of jobs," said C. Emanuel Smith, regional attorney for EEOC's Birmingham District Office. "EEOC will defend the right of women to seek employment regardless of the job category."

Delner Franklin-Thomas, district director for EEOC's Birmingham District, added, "Sex discrimination has no place in the 21st century workplace. EEOC remains committed through outreach, education and litigation to ensure that women have access to available positions in the workforce, even those that have traditionally been held by men."

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

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