The temp industry is about to get some unwanted attention from the federal agency in charge of cracking down on job discrimination.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which investigates workers’ complaints around the country, announced a new focus on temp workers and the agencies that employ them in its five-year enforcement plan.
“The Commission adds a new priority to address issues related to complex employment relationships and structures in the 21st century workplace, focusing specifically on temporary workers, staffing agencies, independent contractor relationships, and the on-demand economy,” the plan states.
It comes after a series of stories by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting about temp agencies discriminating by race, gender and age. Many will provide whatever employers request, whether it’s a preference for white workers, or Latino men, or young women. Some use code words, like “heavies” for men or “country boys” for whites. Black workers are often screened out.
In a “Reveal” radio show earlier this year, Commission Chair Jenny Yang said the problem was growing with the expansion of the temp industry.
The country’s temp workforce has risen to a high of nearly 3 million workers a month.
“We do see significant job discrimination continuing, and one of the concerns we have about the growing temporary workforce is that those workers are now some of our most vulnerable workers because they can’t be assured they have a job the next day,” Yang said.