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Employer settles EEOC claim it fired recruiter for opposing age, race discrimination



R3 Government Solutions, LLC, will pay $82,500 to settle U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission allegations that it discriminated and retaliated against a Black recruiter for opposing discriminatory hiring practices, the agency announced June 9.

According to the complaint, the recruiter was hired in 2016 to help R3, a federal contractor, fill jobs at federal agencies. She reported to the company president, who allegedly instructed her to ask questions to determine an employee’s age and screen out older applicants, in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. The recruiter alleged Black applicants were put through a more difficult hiring process and that restrictions were based on national origin, both in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 

After she said she would not participate in the discriminatory hiring practices, the recruiter allegedly faced racially discriminatory comments from the company president, who told her she “should do as directed because, as a Black single mother with no college degree, nobody else would hire her or pay her what she was earning at R3,” according to the complaint. 

The recruiter then allegedly faced retaliation, including restricted communication, threats to take away her flexible work schedule and telework arrangements and more, before she was fired in 2017. 

In addition to paying monetary damages, the consent decree, agreed to by the parties in April and signed by a judge on June 7, requires that R3 maintain a policy that prohibits discrimination and retaliation, maintain an applicant database and a record of complaints to be submitted to the EEOC and provide compliance training to a wide range of personnel, among other requirements.

While HR is sometimes allegedly complicit in discriminatory conduct, EEOC has previously supported HR workers who stand up against compliance breaches that come from the top down. In March, for example, the agency reached a $460,000 settlement with a medical device manufacturer after the company allegedly fired an HR director who questioned the company’s plans to replace older workers with younger ones. 

“Retaliation against employees who oppose discrimination they observe in the workplace cannot be tolerated,” Mindy Weinstein, director of the EEOC’s Washington field office, said in the agency’s release on the R3 settlement. “The EEOC is committed to seeking relief for workers who speak up against their employer’s discriminatory conduct.” 

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