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EEOC wins access to Quantum’s hiring documents

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Hiring,Human Resources

Bolingbrook-based Quantum Foods faces a national-origin discrimination lawsuit from the EEOC, based on a Hispanic worker’s claim that he was terminated because of his national origin.

The EEOC sought hiring records for the facility for the past four years. Quantum Foods, which sells frozen meat to restaurants and other food retailers, attempted several arguments to avoid producing the documents, all of which failed.

First, the company argued that the employee did not allege he was discriminated against during the hiring process, so hiring documents were irrelevant. The court ruled the EEOC has the right to job-classification and hiring data in virtually any discrimination case. Next, Quantum argued that releasing the data would risk leaking confidential information. But the court noted that EEOC personnel face fines if they release personal information improperly.

Note: The EEOC often looks for evidence of systemic discrimination when investigating individual discrimination cases. Courts generally give the EEOC wide latitude when seeking information. And courts usually don’t see EEOC requests as burdensome, since employers are required to maintain applications and other hiring information.

Advice: Ensure all hiring-related documents are in order and easily produced upon request. Courts always assume missing documents contain damning evidence.

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