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Paramount Staffing Inc. will pay $585,000 to resolve a discrimination lawsuit by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, although the company said it believes the allegations are without merit.
The EEOC said the company preferred to place Hispanic workers in warehouse positions and failed to place African American workers.
In its lawsuit, the EEOC said Earnestine Tolar, an African American worker, had worked at a warehouse in Memphis with a predecessor company to Paramount in January 2004. After Paramount took over the contract in February 2004, Tolar was placed a few times but later sent home despite assignments being available at the warehouse, according to the lawsuit.
Paramount allegedly terminated Tolar in March 2004 after she complained about African Americans being sent home while assigning Hispanics work at the warehouse, according to the lawsuit. The suit alleged that the warehouse workforce was predominantly African American before Paramount took over. "When defendant took over the contract in February 2004, its management it (sic) essentially replaced the African Americans with Hispanics," according to the suit.
In a statement, the company said: "Paramount Staffing believes that the allegations of discrimination raised by the government in this matter were without merit. We have agreed to resolve the matter to avoid the continuing costs and disruption associated with a long federal litigation. The agreement does not involve any admission of wrongdoing by Paramount Staffing.
"Paramount Staffing remains committed to recruiting and hiring without regard to the race or national origin of any applicant. Paramount Staffing also remains committed to recruit from and seek employment opportunities for individuals from all segments of the Memphis community."
The EEOC said the two-year consent decree resolving the suit enjoins Paramount from failing to hire African American workers on the basis of race or national origin, requires a written hiring and placement policy prohibiting discrimination, and the provision of training to recruiters and onsite personnel. Paramount's regional VP will also announce the resolution of the lawsuit to each management employee. Paramount also agreed to devote a portion of its advertising budget to placing advertisements in diverse media outlets if it does advertise.
Paramount is based in Northbrook IL.