Using staffing agencies can provide significant advantages for employers. Perhaps an employer needs a large number of workers for a short period of time, or perhaps there are no human resources to spend on vetting and interviewing candidates. However there are risks associated with using a staffing agency as well.
One of those risks is that while every employer knows that they must comply with federal nondiscrimination law, many do not know that they are also responsible for such compliance by their staffing agency. Ignorance is not an excuse when it comes to making sure that contractors comply with federal employment laws.
In 2012, BP Exploration and Production, Inc. entered into a voluntary settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in connection with unlawful hiring practice used by a staffing agency they contracted with. BP and the contractor agreed to pay $5.4 million to a class of women in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida who were discriminated against when they were not considered for work on the cleanup effort after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill.