Labor Source / Wise Staffing to Pay $40,000 to Settle EEOC Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Company Refused to Hire Pregnant Applicant, Federal Agency Charged
 

OXFORD, Miss. – Labor Source, L.L.C. doing business as Wise Staffing, part of Wise Staffing Group, one of the largest staffing services in the Southeast, will pay $40,000 and provide other relief to settle a lawsuit by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charging failure to hire based on pregnancy, the federal agency announced today. According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Labor Source / Wise Staffing, headquartered in Tupelo, Mississippi, failed to hire a qualified pregnant applicant for one of its clients.

The EEOC said that around May 2019, a hiring official from Wise Staffing interviewed the applicant for a data extraction clerk position with a client company. During the interview, the applicant informed the hiring manager about her pregnancy. The hiring manager told the applicant after a second interview that Wise Staffing had decided to hire other applicants, but that she would reach out to the applicant later. The EEOC said that Wise Staffing hired less-qualified, non-pregnant individuals instead of the pregnant applicant. Further, the hiring official never reached out to the applicant although she continued to inquire about the position.

Pregnancy discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Oxford Division (EEOC v. Labor Source, L.L.C. d/b/a Wise Staffing, Case No. 3:21-cv-00187) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

Under the terms of the two-year consent decree settling the suit, Wise Staffing will pay $40,000 in back pay and compensatory damages to the individual denied hire; provide anti-discrimination training, including training on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act; administer an exam after the training to all individuals involved in the hiring decisions and require a 90% or better pass rate on the exam; provide reports on the pass and failure scores of hiring officials; submit complaints of discrimination and Wise Staffing’s response to the complaints; and post a notice regarding the consent decree. The decree also enjoins Labor Source and its officers and agents from refusing to hire women because of pregnancy.

“We are pleased the EEOC and Labor Source quickly reached an amicable resolution that will ensure the protection of pregnant applicants in the future,” said Faye A. Williams, regional attorney for the Memphis District Office. “We hope this case conveys to employers the importance of regular training for staff on various anti-discrimination laws, including the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.”

Edmond Sims, acting district director of the EEOC’s Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee and portions of Mississippi, added, “The Pregnancy Discrimination Act requires employers to treat qualified pregnant women the same as they would treat other qualified applicants and employees. The EEOC will continue to enforce that important law.”

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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