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EEOC, Aerotek settle recruiter dispute

January 26 2010

Aerotek agreed to allow recruiters who are in nonmanagement positions speak with representatives of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission privately and without an attorney from Aerotek present as part of an EEOC investigation, the EEOC announced on Monday.

Aerotek allegedly required its recruiters in some of its Chicago offices to only speak with an EEOC representative with a company attorney present, according to the EEOC. The EEOC was investigating a separate complaint of alleged discrimination.

The EEOC sought a preliminary injunction against Aerotek to overturn the requiement, according to the EEOC.

Both sides went to court, but reached a negotiated agreement where Aerotek agreed to advise recruiters in its Schaumburg, Rockford and Crystal Lake IL sites that they can speak with an EEOC representative in private and without an Aerotek attorney. The statement included the words: "At no time will any adverse action be taken against you by Aerotek based on whether or not you choose to speak to the EEOC," according to the EEOC.

"Responsible employers understand that they have nothing to gain by attempting to interfere with EEOC investigations," said EEOC Regional Attorney John Hendrickson. "Interfering employers frequently end up only shooting themselves in the foot, and the EEOC investigation goes forward in any event. The controlling principles are clear: The law permits the EEOC to speak directly with nonmanagement employees outside of the presence of employers and their counsel, and the law protects the employees who speak with the EEOC from retaliation."

Aerotek is part of the Allegis Group, the largest U.S. staffing firm.

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