From labor disputes cases to labor and employment publications, for your research, you’ll find solutions on Bloomberg Law®. Protect your clients by developing strategies based on Litigation...
July 19 — A security staffing company may be liable for age discrimination after removing an 83-year-old receptionist from a work site at the client's request without investigation, a federal appeals court ruled ( Nicholson v. Securitas Sec. Servs. USA, Inc. , 2016 BL 230135, 5th Cir., No. 15-10582, 7/18/16 ).
A jury must decide whether Securitas Security Services USA Inc. should have known of its joint-employer client's alleged age bias against Helen Nicholson, who was replaced by a 29-year-old worker, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit said.
A jury also must determine whether Securitas failed to take corrective action, the court said, reversing summary judgment to Securitas on Nicholson's Age Discrimination in Employment Act claim.
In recent years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which enforces the ADEA, has explored the issue of staffing agencies potentially trying to fulfill their clients' allegedly discriminatory hiring and placement practices. Additionally, a growing number of appeals courts, most recently the Third and Fourth circuits, have found that staffing firms and their clients can be held liable as joint employers under federal anti-bias laws.
Judge Leslie H. Southwick wrote the July 18 opinion, joined by Judges Fortunato P. Benavides and James L. Dennis.
According to the court, Securitas had a staffing agreement with FMR Co., also known as Fidelity. Nicholson, who was employed by Securitas, worked as a receptionist at a Fidelity office in Westlake, Texas.
Fidelity later requested that Nicholson be removed from its work site because she was “unable to perform new technology-related tasks,” the court said. Without investigation, Securitas removed Nicholson, who was replaced with a younger employee.
The Fifth Circuit explained that one way a staffing company can be held liable for the alleged discriminatory conduct of a joint-employer client is if it should have known about the client's bias and failed to correct it.
Here, the court said, Securitas had a standard company practice of investigating a client's reassignment requests.
But the company didn't conduct an investigation into Fidelity's request for it to reassign Nicholson, nor did it ask for an explanation before removing Nicholson from the Fidelity work site, the court said.
“If Securitas failed to follow its usual practices in responding to a client’s desire to have an employee removed, such a deviation can support Nicholson’s claim that the company should have known of the alleged discrimination,” the court said.
The Sanford Firm represented Nicholson. Thompson, Coe, Cousins & Irons represented Securitas.
To contact the reporter on this story: Jay-Anne B. Casuga in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan J. McGolrick at firstname.lastname@example.org
Text of the opinion is available at http://www.bloomberglaw.com/public/document/Nicholson_v_Securitas_Sec_Servs_USA_Inc_No_1510582_2016_BL_230135.
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)