ResourceMFG, a national manufacturing specialty staffing company, violated federal law when it failed to refer an Oklahoma job applicant for employment because she was not born in the United States, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a recently filed lawsuit.
According to the EEOC’s suit, Anke Hicks, a German-born naturalized U.S. citizen, interviewed with a ResourceMFG recruiter in February 2020 and was offered a position at XPO Logistics, a federal government contractor, that required U.S. citizenship. ResourceMFG told Hicks that in order to complete the hiring process, she was required to present a United States birth certificate. Hicks explained that she did not have a U.S. birth certificate, but she could provide documents proving her U.S. citizenship. ResourceMFG terminated the onboarding process and told Hicks she could not be hired because she was not born in the United States, the EEOC said.
National origin discrimination – which occurs when an employer treats applicants or employees unfavorably because they are from a particular country or part of the world, or because of their ethnicity or accent – violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Employbridge of Dallas, Inc. d/b/a ResourceMFG, Civil Action No. CIV-22-499-C) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement via its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory, and punitive damages for Hicks, as well as injunctive relief to prevent future discrimination.
“Citizenship requirements are permitted only where required by law, regulation, or government contract,” said Andrea G. Baran, regional attorney for the EEOC’s St. Louis District office. “But staffing companies providing workers to government contractors cannot add additional requirements, such as U.S. birth, to their selection process.”
David Davis, acting director of the EEOC’s St. Louis District office, added, “As a nation of immigrants, we embrace those who choose to go through the strenuous process to become U.S. citizens. Title VII prohibits discrimination against those individuals because they were born elsewhere.”
For more information on national origin discrimination, please visit https://www.eeoc.gov/national-origin-discrimination.
Lisa Smith, SPHR, SCP
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