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-Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

An EEOC Subpoena Can Greatly Expand The Scope Of The Initial Discrimination Charge

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In EEOC v. Aerotek, Inc., No. 15-1690, March 4, 2016, 7th Circuit, the EEOC filed suit against the employer and applied for an order to enforce the EEOC’s administrative subpoena against the employer (a temporary staffing agency). The EEOC had investigated the employer to assess the employer’s compliance with the ADEA. The EEOC sought information regarding “all” the staffing agency’s clients’ job requisition requests of the employer. The EEOC also asked for information about “all” persons that the employer referred for employment to the staffing agency’s clients. The staffing agency “partially” complied with the subpoenas. The information taken from that compliance revealed hundreds of discriminatory job requests by the staffing agency’s clients who attempted to limit referrals to younger individuals. Further, the staffing agency removed information from their compliance documents that would identify clients seeking such referrals. The Court held the EEOC could properly seek the information they requested because: (1) the requested information was within the scope of the EEOC’s authority to investigate “potential” employment discrimination; and (2) the subpoenas were properly aimed at “any” discriminatory requests that were not recorded in the employer’s database. The Seventh Circuit rejected the staffing agency’s argument that disclosure was inappropriate because it would harm the staffing agency’s business relationships with their clients.
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