Temps Paid $2M in Harassment Suit
Blockbuster, Inc. has agreed to pay more than $2 million to settle an employment discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The agency had charged that the Dallas-based global retailer subjected female temporary employees to sexual harassment, retaliated against them for resisting sexual advances and complaining, and subjected Hispanic temporary employees to national origin and race harassment.
In the suit, the EEOC maintained that the male supervisory staff engaged in and condoned the harassment of a class of seven female employees, four of whom are Hispanic. Incidents of harassment committed by Blockbuster supervisors included
- Repeated requests for sexual favors
- Unwelcome sex-related questioning
- Offensive racial remarks
- Other discriminatory conduct
The conduct culminated in the denial of work hours, discriminatory firings, and forced resignations.
This case should act as a warning to all employers who use staffing agency personnel, says the EEOC. Employers who are customers of staffing agencies have a responsibility to protect their temporary workers from unlawful discrimination. Too often, employers fail to create systems to prevent and detect abuse of temporary workers and fail to respond forcefully to it. Those employers do so at their peril.
Visit the EEOC website for more information on temporary employees.
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