EEOC Sues Software People, Inc. for Age Discrimination and Retaliation

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NEW YORK – Software People, an IT support staffing agency based in Long Island, New York that contracts with local and state governmental agencies throughout the country, violated federal law when it refused to refer an otherwise qualified candidate for a position after he objected to a recruiter’s inquiry concerning the candidate’s age, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.   
 
According to the EEOC’s complaint, Timothy Mailloux expressed interest in a desktop support position, and was told by the recruiter that his application would be referred to the client-employer for consideration. Soon thereafter, the recruiter asked Mailloux to provide the date he completed his education, which was not reflected in his resume. Mailloux objected to the question, noting that questions designed to determine an applicant’s age are illegal under federal age discrimination law. There was no response to Mailloux’s objection, and he was ultimately not referred for the desktop support position, despite the earlier assurance that he would be referred.  

Such alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which prohibits employers and staffing agencies from retaliating against employees who oppose or object to discriminatory employment practices. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York (EEOC v. Software People LLC, Civil Action No. 2:21-cv-5380 after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks back pay and other damages for Mailloux, as well as injunctive relief designed to remedy and prevent acts of retaliation. The case will be litigated by EEOC trial attorney Edumin Corrales and EEOC supervisory trial attorney Kimberly Cruz.
 
“The ADEA is clear that employers and staffing agencies can neither discriminate against applicants based on age nor retaliate against applicants who oppose what they reasonably believe was improper questioning during the hiring process,” said Jeffrey Burstein, regional attorney for the EEOC’s New York District Office.
 
Judy Keenan, director of the New York District Office, said, “The EEOC stands committed to enforcing all aspects of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, including discrimination and retaliation by staffing agencies against older job seekers.”
 
EEOC Trial Attorney Edumin Corrales added, “For many candidates, especially in the tech industry, staffing agencies are the first point of contact in the hiring process, so compliance with anti-discrimination statutes is imperative. No candidate should be denied a fair chance for a position because of their age or opposition to what they perceive as discrimination.”
 
The EEOC’s New York District Office is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, northern New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont.  
 
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.

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