PHILADELPHIA — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Wilkes-Barre, Pa.-based staffing firm OneSource Staffing, LLC reached a voluntary conciliation agreement to resolve two discrimination charges, the federal agency announced today.
The EEOC’s investigation into two disability discrimination charges revealed that OneSource Staffing required, as a condition of employment, that workers execute a mandatory arbitration agreement for disputes arising out of employment, including any arising under anti-discrimination laws enforced by the EEOC. The EEOC determined that the OneSource Staffing sought to enforce the agreement to prohibit employees from filing charges of discrimination with the EEOC and that such conduct was unlawful retaliation and interference with an individual’s exercise of rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
OneSource Staffing, LLC denied that it engaged in unlawful conduct but agreed to a voluntary resolution of the charges.
The ADA prohibits employment discrimination based on disability. It prohibits employers from engaging in retaliation because an employee opposed discrimination or filed a charge with the EEOC. It is also unlawful to coerce, intimidate, threaten or otherwise interfere with an individual’s exercise of ADA rights, or with an individual who is assisting another to exercise ADA rights.
In the conciliation agreement, OneSource Staffing agreed not to engage in employment discrimination or retaliation in the future. OneSource Staffing agrees it will modify its arbitration policy and notify employees that the arbitration agreement does not prohibit an employee from filing a charge with the EEOC, having the case investigated by the EEOC or from participating in an EEOC investigation. It will not use the arbitration agreement as a defense to any charge filed with the EEOC. The staffing company will also post a notice about the voluntary settlement. The EEOC will monitor compliance with the voluntary settlement for one year.
“Supreme Court precedent establishes that an arbitration agreement does not preclude an individual's right to file a charge and have the case investigated by the EEOC,” said Jamie R. Williamson, director of the EEOC's Philadelphia District.
Preserving access to the legal system, including addressing overbroad mandatory arbitration provisions, is one of the EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan priorities.
The EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office is one of four offices in the Philadelphia District, which has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C., and parts of Virginia.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.