Temporary Employment Agency to pay $568,500 to settle EEOC race and sex discrimination suit

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Agencies Discriminated Against Black and Female Applicants Seeking Work Assignments, Federal Agency Charged

CHICAGO – Personnel Staffing Group, LLC, doing business as Most Valuable Personnel (MVP), and MVP Workforce, LLC will pay $568,500 to resolve a race and sex discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced on June 29, 2020.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, temporary employment agencies MVP and MVP Workforce dis­criminated against black and female applicants and employees by refusing to send them on work assign­ments or by sending them for fewer work hours. The EEOC’s suit charges that the companies did so either on their own initiative or to honor the discriminatory requests of clients who did not want black workers or sought only men for certain assignments.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of race and sex. The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago (EEOC v. Personnel Staffing Group, LLC d/b/a Most Valuable Personnel and MVP Workforce, LLC, Civil Action No. 1:20-cv-03683 on June 24, 2020. The suit involves MVP and MVP Workforce locations in Cicero, Joliet and Franklin Park, Ill. The court approved the parties’ proposed consent decree resolving the litigation on June 29, 2020.

As a result of negotiations before EEOC filed its suit, EEOC and MVP and MVP Workforce agreed on a two-and-a-half-year consent decree. Under its terms, MVP and MVP Workforce are enjoined from engaging in race or sex discrimination in their referrals and from retaliation in the future. MVP Workforce will adopt a process to identify qualified applicants or employees for temporary work assignments; inform applicants and employees how to complain of discrimination; create and maintain records of all applicant information; provide periodic reports to EEOC about its applicants, referrals, and any complaints of race or sex discrimination; and train employees who are involved in the hiring and assignment process about Title VII. MVP, which is not currently doing business in Illinois, must implement the same measures if it resumes operations in Illinois.

The monetary relief paid by MVP and MVP Workforce will also resolve similar claims of race and sex discrimination brought in the related lawsuits Cox, et al. v. Personnel Staffing Group, LLC, Case No. 16 C 11282 (N.D. Ill.); Hunt, et al. v. Personnel Staffing Group, LLC, dba MVP, et al., Case No. 16 C 11086 (N.D. Ill.); Smith, et al. v. MVP Workforce, LLC, et al., Case No. 18 C 03718 (N.D. Ill.)

“The EEOC appreciates MVP and MVP Workforce’s willingness to work with the agency to resolve this matter without protracted litigation to provide relief to victims of discrimination and undertake measures to prevent future discrimination,” said Gregory Gochanour, the EEOC’s regional attorney in Chicago.

Julianne Bowman, EEOC’s district director in Chicago added, “Temporary agencies, like other emp­loyers, are prohibited under federal law from discriminating based on race or sex in work assignments, even if it is their clients who are making the discriminatory requests. When a temp agency complies with such requests, it violates the law.”

The EEOC’s Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of discrimin­ation, admin­istrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimin­ation. More information is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.

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