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Press Release 04-12-2022

Software People, Inc. Settles EEOC Retaliation Lawsuit

IT Staffing Agency Refused to Refer Applicant Who Objected to Recruiter’s Discriminatory Inquiry Concerning His Age, Federal Agency Charged

NEW YORK – Software People, Inc., an IT support staffing agency based in Long Island, New York that contracts with local and state governmental agencies throughout the country, will institute anti-discrimination policies and provide significant training to settle a retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s complaint, Software People refused to refer an applicant for a desktop support position after the applicant declined a recruiter’s request that he provide the date he completed his education. The applicant objected to the question, noting his belief that questions designed to determine an applicant’s age are illegal under federal law. The recruiter did not respond to the objection and the applicant was ultimately not referred for the position, despite an earlier assurance that he would be referred. 

Such conduct violates the retaliation provision of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which prohibits employers and staffing agencies from retaliating against employees who oppose or object to discrim­inatory employment practices. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York (EEOC v. Software People LLC, Civil Action No. 2:21-cv-5380) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. This case was litigated by EEOC Trial Attorney Edumin Corrales and EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney Kimberly Cruz.

The consent decree settling the suit includes significant non-monetary relief to prevent future discrimination, including prohibiting Software People from discriminating and retaliating against employees and applicants based on age and for opposing discriminatory practices; the creation of a robust anti-discrimination policy providing employees and applicants with mechanisms to complain about discrimination; and mandatory training for Software People employees and recruiters about federal anti-discrimination law.  The company must also report to the EEOC on any internal complaints of discrimination or retaliation it receives for the next two years. In lieu of damages for the applicant, the EEOC sought and Software People agreed to make a $15,000 charitable contribution to enhance job opportunities for people in the protected age group.

The lawsuit was settled prior to the parties engaging in pre-trial discovery.

“The ADEA not only protects job applicants from discrimination based on age, but it also prohibits recruiters from retaliating against individuals who object to discriminatory questions during the hiring process,” said Regional Attorney Jeffrey Burstein.

Judy Keenan, director of the New York District Office, said, “The EEOC stands committed to enforcing all aspects of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, including the anti-retaliation provisions. No candidate should be denied consideration for a position because of their opposition to questions they in good faith perceive to be discriminatory.”

The EEOC’s New York District Office is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, northern New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont.

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.