EEOC Sues Staffing Agency for Sex Harassment, Retaliation, and Assigning Workers Based on Sex

CHICAGO – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) filed a class lawsuit yesterday alleging that Source One Staffing, Inc. (“Source One”) assigned female employees to a known hostile work environment and retaliated against two female employees who reported that their supervisor was making sexual advances toward them. The EEOC also claims that Source One categorized jobs as “men’s work” or “women’s work” and assigned employees accordingly.

John Rowe, the EEOC’s district director in Chicago, said the agency’s investigation uncovered direct evidence of sex stereotyping in Source One’s job assignment practices. “Title VII prohibits employment agencies from failing or refusing to refer employees for temporary job assignments because of their sex,” said Rowe. “This includes a duty not to comply with discriminatory requests from its clients for workers of only one sex.”

The EEOC filed suit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement with Source One through its statutory conciliation process. The case, EEOC v. Source One Staffing, Inc., No. 11-cv-06754, was filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, and has been assigned to Judge Robert M. Dow, Jr. and Magistrate Judge Jeffrey T. Gilbert. Supervisory Trial Attorney Gregory Gochanour and Trial Attorney Grayson S. Walker will litigate the case on behalf of the EEOC.

John Hendrickson, the EEOC’s regional attorney in Chicago, said, “Employment agencies must exercise caution when sending workers on temporary job assignments. When a temporary worker is harassed, Title VII requires both the staffing agency and its client to take corrective actions. A staffing agency cannot continue to send women into a known hostile work environment or place blind trust in its client to remedy the situation. Our investigation suggests that Source One ignored reports of sex harassment and then retaliated against two women whose complaints were too loud to ignore.”

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 is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at