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Press Release 08-30-2022

SmartTalent Sued by EEOC for Sex Discrimination

Federal Agency Seeks Workers Impacted by Staffing Agency’s Refusal to Place Females Due to Client Preferences

SEATTLE — Gig Harbor, Washington-based staffing agency SmartTalent violated federal law by repeatedly refusing to assign female workers to certain temporary jobs, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed in federal court.

The agency is now seeking workers with information or experiences with SmartTalent’s application and assignment practices.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, SmartTalent honored requests made by some business clients to fill positions with male workers only. The EEOC charges that managers instructed recruiters to comply with these gender-based requests to keep their clients happy and that SmartTalent explicitly told female workers that certain jobs were not available to them or would not be a good placement due to their gender. For example, recruiters informed women that labor-intensive jobs would be too hard, that warehouse jobs were mainly for men, and that women didn’t belong there.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which forbids using gender-based criteria in employment. After first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through conciliation, the EEOC filed its lawsuit (EEOC v. SmartTalent, LLC, Case No. 2:22-CV-01102-RSM) in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. On behalf of the women workers, the agency seeks lost wages, monetary damages including compensation for emotional distress, and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief such as a permanent injunction and ongoing monitoring procedures to ensure that SmartTalent complies with the law in the future.

The EEOC asks any workers with information or experiences regarding SmartTalent’s application and assignment practices to contact the EEOC’s litigation team at (206) 576-5636 or through email: SMARTTALENT@EEOC.GOV.

“The law is clear that workers should be hired or assigned work based on qualifications for the job, not gender,” said EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Teri Healy. “Client preference does not excuse sex-based discrimination -- the customer is not always right. Please let us know if you have experienced SmartTalent’s application or placement practices.”

EEOC San Francisco District Director Nancy Sienko said, “Contingent and temp workers are particularly vulnerable to loss of employment opportunities because of client preferences and long-standing stereotypes about ‘men’s work’ versus ‘women’s work.’ Removing unnecessary barriers to employment and remedying class-wide sex discrimination by staffing agencies and other employers are critical EEOC law enforcement priorities.”

For more information on sex-based discrimination, please visit

The EEOC’s Seattle Field Office has jurisdiction over Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and is part of the San Francisco District Office which also covers Northern California and Northern Nevada.

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.