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EEOC find federal agency is a joint employer. Complainant filed an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint alleging discrimination and a hostile work environment. In its final decision, the Agency did not dispute that it is considered a joint employer of the Complainant; however, it found that Complainant failed to state a claim because none of the alleged discriminatory actions were taken by an Agency official and therefore the Agency had no reason to know about the harassing behavior of the staffing firm supervisors and was not liable. Complainant appealed.

On appeal, the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations (OFO) noted that the Agency conceded it jointly employed Complainant and therefore held that the Agency was a joint employer of Complainant. The OFO continued to state that in a case of joint employment where it is alleged that the Agency knew or should have known about discrimination on behalf of the staffing firm and failed to take prompt corrective action, the Agency may also be liable. As such, it was improper for the Agency to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim when the complaint alleges questions as to the Agency’s knowledge of the alleged acts. The OFO reversed the Agency’s final decision and remanded the case.

Brenton W. v. Dep’t of Justice, EEOC Appeal No. 0120182156 (Sept. 12, 2018) https://www.eeoc.gov/sites/default/files/migrated_files/decisions/0120182156.txt

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