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United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Groupon, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

September 21, 2016

UNITED STATES EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION Applicant,
v.
GROUPON, INC., Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          SARA L. ELLIS United States District Judge.

         The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) filed an application for an order to show cause [1] to enforce two administrative subpoenas served on Groupon, Inc., (“Groupon”) in the course of an investigation of a race discrimination charge by Adrian Stratton, an unsuccessful job applicant, filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. The Court finds that the subpoenas are relevant to the underlying charge and not overly broad. Additionally, the Court finds that Groupon fails to demonstrate that compliance with the subpoenas would be unduly burdensome. Therefore, the Court grants the application and enforces the subpoenas.

         BACKGROUND

         On October 16, 2014, Stratton filed a Charge of Discrimination (“Charge”) against Groupon alleging that Groupon discriminated against him on the basis of his race by failing to hire him for the position Vice President of Merchandising. Stratton's Charge stated in relevant part, “I applied for a position with [Groupon] on or around January 2014. I was not hired. I believe I have been discriminated against because of my race, Black, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.” Doc. 3-1 at 6.

         EEOC sent Groupon notice of the Charge on October 23, 2014, and began to investigate whether Groupon's hiring policies and practices violate Title VII by discriminating against applicants based on race. Groupon filed a response with EEOC denying the allegations on November 24, 2014.

         On February 2, 2015, EEOC made its first request for information from Groupon. Specifically it requested to conduct on-site interviews of the individual who reviewed Stratton's application and of other individuals identified by Groupon as familiar with the company's policies and practices for recruiting and hiring new employees. Groupon responded on February 12, 2015, offering to produce the relevant employees. EEOC conducted interviews of these employees on February 18, 2015.

         On March 13, 2015, EEOC sent Groupon a request for additional information, to which Groupon objected on April 10, 2015, arguing that the request was overly broad. However, Groupon did provide information it deemed directly related to the hiring of the Vice President of Merchandising position in response to this request.

         On May 13, 2015, EEOC requested access to Groupon's Chicago headquarters to conduct an on-site investigation. Groupon objected on May 21, 2015, arguing that the on-site investigation was irrelevant to the Charge.

         On June 3, 2015, EEOC issued two administrative subpoenas, Subpoena Nos. CH-15-027 and CH-15-028 (the “Subpoenas”), to Groupon. Subpoena No. CH-15-027 requests the following information from January 1, 2014[1] to present:[2]

• Category 1: Identification of all systems used by Groupon to advertise or recruit prospective candidates;
• Category 2: A database of all employees including their race, date of application, source of application (referral, direct, etc.), position, date of separation, address, and the name and race of the individual who referred the employee, if applicable;
• Category 3: A database of applicants for employment seeking the same information described in Category 2;
• Category 4: A database of the 192 applicants for the VP position for which Stratton applied seeking the same information described in Category 2; and
• For each individual described in Category 4, submission of unredacted copies of all application materials including social media account ...

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