Temp Agency ADECCO USA Settles EEOC Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Lawsuit

Federal Agency Has Obtained $91,500 for Women Sent by Adecco to Plastics Company Where They Allegedly Suffered Physical and Verbal Harassment

PITTSBURGH - Adecco USA, a Global Fortune 500 staffing company, will pay $12,000 and provide equitable relief to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. In addition to this settlement, recently the EEOC won $79,500 from the plastics company where the discrimination victims were sent by Adecco to work, for a total of $91,500 in damages for the victims in this case.

According to the EEOC’s suit, Adecco USA assigned Veronica Jalpa, Tonya Claypool and other female employees to work at Pittsburgh Plastics Manufacturing, Inc.’s facility in Butler, Pa. The EEOC alleged that on several occasions a Pittsburgh Plastics male supervisor engaged in unwelcome physical touching of Jalpa, Claypool and other women, including intentionally rubbing against them, hugging them and slapping them on the buttocks. He also frequently made lewd and offensive sexual comments to them.

The EEOC charged that even though Jalpa and Claypool complained to Adecco officials about the sexual harassment, the temporary agency not only failed to protect its employees from sexual harassment at the Pittsburgh Plastic site, but it continued to assign female employees to work under the alleged harasser’s supervision. The EEOC further charged that Adecco retaliated against Jalpa by firing her. Claypool was forced to quit due to the ongoing and intolerable harassment, the EEOC said in its lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Civil Action No. 09-1246.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it unlawful to sexually harass an employee and to retaliate against someone who complains about employment discrimination. The EEOC filed suit against Adecco USA after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement out of court.

In addition to the monetary relief for Jalpa and Claypool, the two-year consent decree settling the lawsuit contains significant remedial measures, including enjoining the company from creating or tolerating a sexually hostile work environment for temporary employees at the place of business of any client serviced by Adecco’s Butler facility and prohibiting any unlawful retaliation in violation of Title VII. Adecco will also provide anti-harassment training to managers, supervisors, employees and temporary employees as well as reports to the EEOC, and will post notices on this suit.

On March 11, 2010, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Reynolds Hay approved a consent decree resolving EEOC’s previous sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit against Pittsburgh Plastics Manufacturing, Inc., Civil Action No. 09-1148. The settlement with Pittsburgh Plastics provided a total of $79,500 in monetary relief to Jalpa, Claypool and two other women who were sexually harassed.

“When a staffing agency receives a complaint from one of its temporary employees that she is being sexually harassed at a client’s work site, the staffing company must take action to stop the harassment and ensure that there is no retaliation,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence of the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office, which oversees Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, Maryland, and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. “This consent decree, including the injunctive relief and training provisions, should protect many temporary employees from being subjected to unlawful harassment at their various work assignments.”

In Fiscal Year 2009, EEOC received 12,696 charges alleging sexual harassment. Retaliation charges also surged to a record high level of 33,613 in FY 2009 -- more than triple the number of such filings in the early 1990s.

Adecco USA is part of Adecco S.A. According to its web site, Adecco connects over 700,000 associates with business clients each day through its network of over 33,000 employees and 6,600 offices in more than 70 countries and territories around the world. Additional information about the company is available on its web site, www.adeccousa.com.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.