A Chicago-area staffing agency will pay $800,000 under a consent decree resolving two discrimination lawsuits filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Of that, $70,000 will go to the sexual harassment and retaliation victims. The remaining $730,000 will be distributed evenly to a class of female employees who were not considered for certain work on the basis of their sex.
"The EEOC determined that Source One violated federal anti-discrimination law in multiple ways, which was alarming, and clearly required serious EEOC action," says Julianne Bowman, director of the EEOC's Chicago District Office. "Further, staffing agencies must understand that they are not immune from enforcement of federal anti-discrimination laws. This decree sends a strong signal to other staffing agencies that if they engage in discrimination - especially several different kinds of it - it will come at a high cost."
The EEOC's two lawsuits against Source One Staffing filed several years ago alleged multiple violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The charges and the decree
Specifically, the EEOC charged that Source One Staffing, Inc. engaged in the following unlawful conduct:
- The company assigned female employees to a known hostile work environment
- Retaliated against two female employees who reported that their supervisor was making sexual advances toward them
- Categorized jobs as "men's work" or "women's work" and assigned employees accordingly
- Asked impermissible pre-employment medical questions in violation of the ADA
- Failed or refused to assign employees to certain jobs because of their race and/or national origin
In addition to the monetary settlement, the decree also requires Source One to take the following affirmative steps:
- Train employees on employees' rights under Title VII and the ADA
- Report complaints of discrimination during the decree's three-year term
- Change its employment policies and practices to conform to the ADA and Title VII
- Post a notice of the decree at all of its locations
- Ensure the decree compliance is overseen by an independent monitor
"While the consent decree puts an end to four-years of litigation between EEOC and Source One, the matter is far from over," said John Hendrickson, regional attorney for the EEOC's Chicago District. "The EEOC - through the appointment of an independent monitor - will keep a watchful eye on Source One to make sure it fulfills all of its obligations under the decree for the next three years. If Source One fails to adhere to the decree, the EEOC will do everything in its power to ensure compliance."