University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name EEOC v. RENT-A-CENTER, INC. EE-TN-0094
Docket / Court 2:99-cv-02427-JPM-dkv ( W.D. Tenn. )
State/Territory Tennessee
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Attorney Organization EEOC
Case Summary
On May 14, 1999, the EEOC filed this lawsuit against Rent-A-Center, Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee on behalf of four individual plaintiffs and a "class of other females who have been adversely affected" by sex discrimination in the employment process. The case ... read more >
On May 14, 1999, the EEOC filed this lawsuit against Rent-A-Center, Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee on behalf of four individual plaintiffs and a "class of other females who have been adversely affected" by sex discrimination in the employment process. The case was assigned to Judge Jerome Turner (later reassigned to Judge Jon P. McCalla). The EEOC sued under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. § 2000e) and Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1991 (42 U.S.C. § 1981a). Specifically, the EEOC alleged that the Defendant terminated the employment of four female employees and refused to hire other females because of their sex. The available records do not show exactly what reliefs the EEOC and the individual plaintiffs sought.

The Defendant was a "rent to own" company that rented a variety of items, including furniture, appliances, electronics, and accessories to individuals. Generally, the Defendant delivered the rented items to the homes of its customers. The Defendant administered various tests to the current employees for two positions: 1) account manager; and 2) executive assistant manager. Four specific female employees (represented by EEOC in this lawsuit) who failed the tests were not placed into positions as account managers after taking the tests, were not allowed to retake the tests, and were eventually discharged from employment. Rent-A-Center's stated reason was that the Plaintiffs could not lift 75 pounds without assistance. After the termination of the four female employees, the Defendant employed no women at its facilities in this region.

The EEOC alleged that unlike the four female employees, male employees who failed the tests were placed into positions as account managers, allowed to retake the tests, and then placed into assistant manager positions. The EEOC further claimed that when female applicants attempted to apply for positions at the Defendant's stores in this region, they were either not hired or discouraged from applying.

Between May 1999 and December 2002, the parties engaged in discovery. Then, on December 13, 2002, the parties filed a notice of settlement. The records do not show the details of the Settlement Agreement.

On December 17, 2002, Judge McCalla approved the parties' Settlement Agreement. Judge McCalla also noted that pursuant to a Consent Decree entered in a related case in the Southern District of Illinois (Wilfong, et al. v. Rent-A-Center (Civil Action No. 00-680-DRH)), another sex discrimination class action against the same Defendant), the case was dismissed with prejudice. Each party paid its own costs and attorneys' fees and the case is now closed.

Lisa Koo - 05/25/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Defendant-type
Retailer
Discrimination-area
Hiring
Promotion
Testing
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
EEOC-centric
Direct Suit on Merits
General
Disparate Treatment
Pattern or Practice
Plaintiff Type
EEOC Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1981
Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
Defendant(s) Rent-A-Center, Inc
Plaintiff Description Four individual plaintiffs and a "class of other females who have been adversely affected" by sex discrimination in the employment process.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations EEOC
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Filing Year 1999
Case Closing Year 2002
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing EE-IL-0194 : WILFONG v. RENT A CENTER (S.D. Ill.)
Docket(s)
2:99-cv-02427-JPM-dkv (W.D. Tenn.)
EE-TN-0094-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/18/2002
General Documents
Order Denying Plaintiffs' Motion for Defaulted Admissions (2001 WL 1906273) (W.D. Tenn.)
EE-TN-0094-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 11/30/2001
Order [ECF# 55] (W.D. Tenn.)
EE-TN-0094-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/15/2002
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order of Dismissal [ECF# 107] (W.D. Tenn.)
EE-TN-0094-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/18/2002
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]

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