Are Employers Free from Liability When Using Staffing Agencies to Terminate Employees?

Companies often find that staffing agencies are valuable resources for helping them fill temporary or permanent positions and for handling human resources issues.
However, recently, an outside staffing agency was involved in a disability discrimination lawsuit the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) brought against Sony Electronics.
Both Sony Electronics and Staffmark Investment LLC ended up settling the lawsuit, which addressed alleged discrimination against a temporary employee who had a prosthetic leg. Staffmark sent the employee to inspect Sony televisions on a temporary basis. While working her second day, a Staffmark employee approached the woman and removed her from the workplace. The explanation given was that the company had concerns she would get bumped or knocked down. The EEOC investigation revealed that Sony’s management had prompted the Staffmark employee to remove the worker. Consequently, the judge considered Sony to be complicit in the violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
It was an expensive error for both companies, resulting in payments from Staffmark of $100,000 and from Sony of $86,000 to the employee.
In addition to the monetary penalty, the federal judge ordered the following:
• Sony must report all employee complaints of disability discrimination to the EEOC for the next two years
• Sony must train certain management and supervisory employees in employment discrimination laws, including the ADA
• Sony must not require that the employee keep the facts of the case confidential, must not waive her rights to file discrimination with a government agency or prevent her from applying or working with Sony or any of Sony’s clients
If you face discrimination issues as an employer, Stephen Hans & Associates can provide you with effective legal representation. For more than 20 years, Stephen Hans & Associates, has successfully defended employers and helped them resolve employment issues that have resulted in litigation.

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