$100,000 Decree in Disability Discrimination Case Against Staffing Agency, Training Ordered

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Question:  Would disability discrimination training have prevented this case?  See our trainings at http://www.hrclassroom.com.

Staffmark Investment LLC, one of the nation's largest commercial staffing companies, will pay $100,000 under a consent decree entered June 25, 2013 which ended a disability discrimination lawsuit.  The EEOC alleged that Staffmark violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it terminated a woman with a prosthetic leg because of her disability.  

Staffmark assigned Dorothy Shanks to work at an Ozburn-Hessey Logistics (OHL) facility located in Romeoville, Ill., to inspect Sony televisions on a temporary basis.  On Shanks's second day on the job, according to the EEOC's complaint, a Staffmark employee told her that she was being removed from the work site because they did not want anyone to bump into her or knock her down.  The EEOC alleged that the employee told Shanks that Staffmark would find her another placement, but she was never sent on another assignment following her termination from the OHL facility.   

The EEOC has also sued Sony, based on allegations that its manager requested Shanks's removal from the assignment.  EEOC's case against Sony is still pending.

The consent decree, entered by U.S. District Court Judge James B. Zagel of the Northern District of Illinois, settles the suit against Staffmark and provides $100,000 in monetary relief to the victim.  The decree also requires Staffmark to report all employee complaints of disability discrimination at two Chicago-area facilities to the EEOC for the next two years.  Staffmark must also train all its supervisory and managerial employees at those facilities on the prevention and eradication of disability discrimination and adopt new policies regarding anti-disability discrimination.  The decree also specifically provides that Staffmark cannot require Shanks to keep the facts underlying the case confidential, waive her rights to file charges with a government agency, or refrain from reapplying for work with Staffmark or any of its clients.

The EEOC filed the case, EEOC v. Staffmark Investment LLC and Sony Electronics, Inc., No. 12-cv-9628, on Dec. 4, 2012 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, only after first attempting to reach a negotiated settlement through the agency's conciliation process.   

According to the company website, Staffmark is one of the top ten commercial staffing companies in the United States, with more than 300 offices in 30 states. 

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