EEOC Sues Orkin over Hiring Practices

May 21, 2010 ( – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a federal court lawsuit accusing pest control company Orkin of discriminating against older workers in hiring.

An EEOC news release said Orkin is also accused of favoring Church  of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) (Mormon) applicants – particularly  returned missionaries.

According to the EEOC’s suit, Orkin discriminated during the hiring process against Thomas Kokezas, as well as a class of individuals based on their age, over 40, or religion, non-Mormon.   The EEOC  suit  alleges that Orkin advertised on Craig’s List for a recruiter “to assist in hiring LDS missionaries for seasonal  employ­ment” and stating that the summer position was great for “RMs,” which stands for “returned missionaries,” who tend to be in their 20s.

The agency said such advertising is illegal because it shows a preference for a particular religion, and also a preference for younger workers. In  addition, the EEOC alleges that the discrimination apparent from the advertisements became a reality when Orkin filled the summer jobs with applicants in their 20s, most of whom were LDS/Mormon.

The EEOC lawsuit arose out of a complaint filed by Kokezas, who responded to the Orkin ad on Craig’s List. The EEOC alleges that Orkin’s agent asked Kokezas his age, then cut the interview short after learning Kokezas was 51.

In a subsequent call, Orkin’s agent admitted that he asked all applicants their age. Kokezas complained to Orkin’s corporate office about the discrimination, and was referred to other managers, but was never hired or even allowed to fill out an application, which the EEOC alleges is retaliation for his complaint.