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Blockbuster Inc. will pay more than $2 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging sexual harassment and racial discrimination against female temporary employees by male supervisory workers at a Blockbuster distribution center in Gaithersburg, Md., the EEOC announced.
The alleged incidents took place in 2004 and 2005, according to the EEOC. They involved seven female temporary employees, four of whom are Hispanic. The alleged harassment included requests for sexual favors, offensive racial remarks, yelling and forced resignations among other things.
“This case should act as a warning to all employers who use staffing agency personnel,” said EEOC Philadelphia Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence, whose jurisdiction includes Maryland. “Employers who are customers of staffing agencies have a responsibility to protect their temporary workers from unlawful discrimination. Too frequently, such employers fail to create systems to prevent and detect abuse of temporary workers and fail to respond forcefully to it. Those employers do so at their peril.”