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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
7-13-10

EEOC Settles Retaliation Lawsuit Against Staffing Firm for $62,500

Adecco USA Inc. Fired Office Manager Who Supported Sexual Harassment Complaint of his Supervisor, Federal Agency Alleged

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced the settlement of a retaliation lawsuit against Adecco USA Inc. for $62,500. 

The EEOC’s lawsuit (Civil Action No. 106CV124 BSJ) filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, Northern Division, charged that Adecco disciplined and fired Jeffrey A. Byard, a former office supervisor for Adecco’s Clearfield, Utah, office, because he spoke out in support of his supervisor when she complained of sexual harassment by her boss. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it unlawful to retaliate against an employee because he testified, assisted, or participated in a proceeding protected that law. This settlement comes after several years of litigation. Mr. Byard was fired in March of 2003.

In addition to the monetary relief for Mr. Byard, Adecco agreed to other relief, including training on the law against retaliation.

Rayford Irvin, the Acting District Director for EEOC’s Phoenix District, said, “Unfortunately, the EEOC has seen an increase in retaliation charges over the last ten years. They represent 36% of our charges. It is our goal that through education and training, employers know it is illegal to fire someone because he has provided testimony in a discrimination investigation. We commend Adecco for agreeing to provide employees with education and training on this very important area of employment discrimination.”

“Claims of retaliation are taken very seriously by the EEOC,” said Mary Jo O’Neill, Regional Attorney for the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office and Albuquerque Area Office. “Employers cannot take action against employees because of their participation in employment discrimination claims, either as a witness or because the employee gave a statement, as Mr. Byard did.”

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing the nation’s laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.