In December, 2016 the nationwide job placement agency MVP Staffing was served with a class action lawsuit by a group of African American workers alleging MVP favored Hispanic job seekers over African American applicants. MVP has approximately 60 offices in 38 different states and the lawsuit was filed in federal court in Illinois because of the alleged discriminatory hiring practices in its office in Cicero, Illinois. The company stands accused of eight different counts of racial discrimination. Included as defendants in the lawsuit are several companies that used MVP to source workers.
The lead lawyer for the plaintiffs described a system complete with code words for African Americans vs. Hispanics designed to favor the Hispanic workers because they were deemed less likely to complain about working conditions. Companies calling in requests for workers would ask for employees who listened to 107.9 FM, a Chicago Spanish language radio station. The MVP manager would then know to only send over Hispanic employees. A former dispatcher at the MVP Elmswood, Illinois office said often African American workers would sit all day in the office waiting to be sent to a job while Hispanic workers could show up in the afternoon and be given work immediately. One of the plaintiffs in the suit allegedly tried to get work through MVP on 20 different occasions, but only got one job at a packaging plant where the supervisors were hostile to him.
Discrimination is Common at Temp Agencies
These alleged discriminatory hiring practices at staffing agencies are symptomatic of general tendencies across our economy, according to the general counsel for the National Employment Law Project. Companies will hire out their Human Resources functions thinking they can absolve themselves of any liability in that way. Because this sector of the job industry connects job applicants with temporary employment, it is a system susceptible to discriminatory practices. The staffing agencies try to please their clients by following their requests even if it means excluding candidates based on race. Unfortunately the victims of the system are low wage minority workers who are unlikely to try to defend themselves.
MVP Staffing has not responded to requests for comment, nor did any of the other companies named in the suit.
Cherry Hill Employment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Defend Victims of Discrimination in New Jersey
If you or someone you know has experienced discrimination in the workplace, the Cherry Hill discrimination lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. will fight for you. Everyone deserves a level playing field when trying to get a job. Call us about your case at 215-569-1999 for a free consultation, or contact us online. Our offices are in Center City, and we serve clients throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York.