Many temporary placement agencies think they are immune from lawsuits for discrimination. That is not at all true. Both Title VII (42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000e-2(b) and Texas Labor Code Sec. 21.052 apply to temporary placement agencies. Both statutes specifically prohibit a temporary placement agency from referring a potential worker to a job based on discriminatory bias. In some cases, the placement agency did not discriminate itself. But, it looked the other way when its client, the mammoth Fortune 500 company did discriminate. Some agencies avoid that problem by simply offering another temporary job to the alleged victim. But, as the court explained in EEOC v. Olsten Staffing Services Corp., 657 F.Supp.2d 1029, 1037 (W.D. Wisc. 2009), simply offering another job to a discrimination victim does not resolve the underlying issue. “Circumvention does not equal corrective action,” said the court. Id, at p. 1037.

I previously write about a Fifth Circuit decision which found that staffing agency participates in a discriminatory decision when the staffing agency knew or should have known discrimination motivated the adverse personnel action. See my prior post here. In that case, the staffing agency enabled a discriminatory decision. But, sometimes, the staffing agency itself discriminates more directly.

That direct sort of discrimination is the basis of a lawsuit recently filed in Chicago. MVP Staffing, a temporary placement agency that has offices in 38 states has been accused of placing Hispanic employees at the expense of African-American workers. According to the lawsuit, MVP prefers Hispanic workers because they were often undocumented and less likely to complain about wages and work conditions. See CBS News report.