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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Forge Industrial Staffing Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

November 24, 2014

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Plaintiff,
v.
FORGE INDUSTRIAL STAFFING INC., Respondent.

ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S APPLICATION FOR ENFORCEMENT OF ADMINISTRATIVE SUBPOENA

MARK J. DINSMORE, Magistrate Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's motion for enforcement of an administrative subpoena. For the reasons stated below, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's motion.

I. Background

Forge Industrial Staffing ("Respondent") is a staffing agency that provides temporary workers. [Dkt. 14 at 2.] On September 16, 2013, Samara Jenkins filed a charge of sexual harassment and retaliation against Respondent. [Dkt. 2-1.] She alleged that Respondent assigned her to work at a Pep Boys distribution center, and that in May of 2013, a coworker began sexually harassing her. [ Id. ] Jenkins complained to Pep Boys and Respondent, and on June 4, 2013, Respondent informed her that Pep Boys had terminated her assignment. [ Id. ]

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC" or "Plaintiff") subsequently investigated whether Respondent's conduct violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. [Dkt. 3 at 2.] The EEOC obtained from Respondent a copy of Jenkins's employment application, which contained the following clause:

WAIVER OF LIMITATIONS PERIODS. In exchange for the Company considering my application for employment, and except as prohibited by law, I agree that I must file any and all claims and/or lawsuits arising out of or pertaining in any way to my application for employment, employment or termination of employment within six (6) months of the event giving rise to the claim and/or lawsuit (unless the applicable statute of limitations is shorter than six (6) months, in which case the shorter period of limitations will apply). I understand that applicable statutes of limitations may be longer than six (6) months. However, I agree to be bound by this shorter six (6) month period of limitations and accordingly WAIVE ANY STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS TO THE CONTRARY.

[ Id. ] Plaintiff requested additional information about this clause, but Respondent refused to produce it. [ Id. at 3.] Plaintiff then served on Respondent a subpoena requiring Respondent to:

1) provide a copy of "each and every version of employment application form which the Respondent has used at any time, for any length of time, at any and all of its offices/places of business, in both paper/hardcopy and electronic/online formats, between January 1, 2012, and May 31, 2014, " including all pages of and all revisions to each form;
2) identify any address at which Respondent conducted business between January 1, 2012 and May 31, 2014;
3) identify each individual who signed any release or acknowledgment as part of Respondent's application process at any time between January 1, 2012 and May 31, 2014, including the date of application and office at which the individual applied; and
4) identify and provide copies of the complaints and dismissals of any lawsuits filed against Respondent since January 1, 2012 that were dismissed because the filing party had previously signed an agreement limiting the length of time the individual had to file a lawsuit.

[Dkt 2-5 at 3.] Plaintiff seeks the information "to determine how long, if at all, Respondent has required applicants to waive statutorily protected statutes of limitations." [Dkt. 3 at 10.] Respondent did not comply with the subpoena, and on September 15, 2014, Plaintiff filed an Application for an Order to Show Cause Why an Administrative Subpoena Should Not Be Enforced. [Dkt. 1.] The Court issued an order to show cause on September 16, 2014. [Dkt. 6.] After granting Respondent's request for an extension of time to respond, [Dkt. 13], the Court conducted a hearing on November 20, 2014.

II. Discussion

This Court has a limited oversight role in subpoena enforcement proceedings. E.E.O.C. v. United Air Lines, Inc., 287 F.3d 643, 649 (7th Cir. 2002). "As long as the investigation is within the agency's authority, the subpoena is not too indefinite, and the information sought is reasonably relevant, the district court must enforce an administrative subpoena." Id. (quoting E.E.O.C. v. Tempel Steel Co., 814 F.2d 482, 485 (7th Cir.1987)). The district court, however, "also must consider the burdensomeness of compliance, " and may "modify or exclude portions of a ...


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