New York state staffing firm settling EEOC lawsuit for $550,000


Staffing Solutions of WNY Inc., a Buffalo, New York-based staffing firm, agreed to pay $550,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit filed by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. the company denied the allegations.

In its announcement, the EEOC alleged the company either refused to hire highly qualified Black applicants or placed them in the lowest paying, least desirable jobs. The agency also alleged the company complied with clients’ race and sex preferences, placed employees in positions based on race and sex and rejected pregnant applicants.

Additionally, the EEOC said applicants over the age of 50 were routinely rejected by Staffing Solutions. Also, applicants were improperly asked about injuries and medical conditions and then rejected if the company deemed them disabled.

In another allegation, the EEOC charged that an office manager for Staffing Solutions complained about the illegal hiring practices but was warned that she would be fired if she failed to comply. As a result, the office manager resigned.

Staffing Solutions rejects the claims.

“Staffing Solutions vehemently denies that it engaged in any discrimination and is troubled by the fact that the EEOC’s press release failed to inform the public that the consent decree expressly states that it denies all of the allegations made by the EEOC,” according to a statement by the company.

“Staffing Solutions’ decision to settle was a difficult one,” the company stated. “The EEOC’s investigation and lawsuit has distracted the company for over five years from its primary purpose of providing temporary employment to area residents, many of whom are minorities and BIPOC persons. After five years, it simply became too costly and time consuming for Staffing Solutions to continue to fight these meritless allegations.”

 “It was shocking and disturbing that the EEOC had brought such meritless claims and continued to relentlessly pursue them for more than five years,” owner Kathleen Faulhaber said.

Staffing Solutions has always hired a workforce consisting of approximately 70% Black and Hispanic and BIPOC people, Faulhaber said in a statement.

“It is truly disappointing that this meritless investigation and lawsuit was pursued for more than five years,” Staffing Solutions’ attorney Linda Joseph said. “It has become necessary to enter into this consent decree for very pragmatic financial reasons and it should be understood that the consent decree is simply a settlement and not an admission of guilt in anyway.”

The three-year consent decree settling the suit provides $475,000 to be distributed to applicants and employees who were subjected to Staffing Solutions’ discriminatory practices, according to the EEOC. In addition, Staffing Solutions will pay $75,000 to retain an independent monitor to regularly review its hiring and placement decisions to ensure they are legal, provide its owner and internal staff with extensive anti-discrimination training and investigate complaints of discrimination.

Also, the decree requires Staffing Solutions’ owner to send a letter to all clients committing the company to following federal laws prohibiting discrimination, according to the EEOC. The decree also includes various injunctions against discrimination in the future and requires the company to adopt a robust anti-discrimination policy and distribute it to all applicants and employees. The EEOC will monitor Staffing Solutions’ compliance with these obligations for the next three years.

“The law is clear that complying with a client’s discriminatory request is illegal,” said Jeffrey Burstein, regional attorney for EEOC’s New York District Office. “Staffing companies cannot prioritize clients’ discriminatory preferences over following the law.”