Tuesday, March 23, 2010
A startling number of discrimination cases are popping up in temporary employment agencies across the country. The reason? It is hard to say, but the general thought is that even though these agencies operate on a high-turnover basis and tracking cases of discrimination within them can be nearly impossible, some cases have come to light that point to a larger problem.
Just this week, Melville, a New York-based Olsten temporary agency, settled a lawsuit that started in their Lacrosse, Wisconsin, branch. The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleged that Olsten Staffing Services blatantly denied Zachary Schaefer a temporary position at Main Street Ingredients, a local food manufacturer, because Schaefer is deaf. The EEOC claimed that the ability to hear was not a clear job requirement, thus making Schaefer a viable candidate for the temporary position. The agency has agreed to pay Schaefer $70,000 in damages and $5,000 in lost pay. The company will also offer their employees training on the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.
It seems some cases where people of color, with disabilities, or of a certain age have been denied jobs by temporary agencies are starting to be better reported. Just the same, well-known companies and trusted businesses are also being taken to court for alleged discrimination lawsuits.
Billion-dollar Internet mega-market eBay is also being sued by a deaf person. Melissa Earll of Nevada, Montana, claims that due to her disability she is unable to communicate vocally by telephone and therefore is unable to verify her identity with eBay. The federal lawsuit filed this past Tuesday targets eBay’s seller’s registration system that requires would-be sellers to identify themselves via telephone. The lawsuit says that the current system violates the California Disabled Person Act as it excludes deaf and hard-of-hearing patrons from equal opportunities. In addition to damages, the suit is seeking to reform eBay’s current registration system so that people with disabilities can participate as sellers like everyone else.