Automation Personnel Services has agreed to settle a government lawsuit alleging an applicant was turned away by a Louisiana branch manager who told her "this is a man's job." Pictured is the company's Chattanooga branch, where former employees say they received orders for “country boys,” or white workers. Credit: Jeremy Brooks for Reveal

As a temp agency manager in Louisiana, Ashlyn Stockstill often used racial slurs and oversaw hiring based on race, sex and age, former employees have said.

“Ain’t nothing gonna happen to me,” said Stockstill, according to former recruiter Vicki Anselmo.

She may be right.

Automation Personnel Services recently agreed to pay $50,000 to settle government allegations that Stockstill turned away a female job applicant, telling her, “This is a man’s job.”

But Stockstill remains manager of Automation’s branch in New Orleans. The company’s vice president, Randy Watts, wrote in an email, “Our investigation revealed no discrimination on her part.”

Stockstill did not return a call for comment.

Ashlyn Stockstill is the New Orleans branch manager for Automation Personnel Services.
Ashlyn Stockstill is the New Orleans branch manager for Automation Personnel Services. Credit:

A 2016 investigation by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting found rampant discrimination at Automation Personnel Services, which is based in Alabama and has branches across the South. Dozens of former employees told Reveal that Automation gave employers what they wanted, whether it was a preference for white workers, Latino workers, or only men for certain jobs.

Shortly after the story published, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a finding of discrimination in response to a complaint against Stockstill that had been pending since 2012. The commission filed suit last June.

Under the settlement, Automation will give $50,000 to Andrea Williams, the woman Stockstill allegedly turned away based on her gender. The company also agreed to develop new policies and have employees and managers at three of Automation’s locations take a two-hour training class on discrimination.

“We think this is a good result,” said Marsha Rucker, the commission’s regional attorney in Birmingham. “We’re encouraged by the fact that they’re going to provide training.”

The settlement doesn’t affect another broader investigation of discrimination at Automation’s branches prompted by Reveal’s story. Rucker said she couldn’t comment on that probe.

In a statement, the company said it is “pleased this case has been brought to a resolution” and that it “continues its commitment to diversity.” It also noted that Automation has hired a new human resources director and general counsel, who will lead efforts to investigate any “perceived discrimination.”

Will Evans can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @willCIR.

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Will Evans was a senior reporter and producer for Reveal, covering labor and tech. His reporting prompted government investigations, legislation, reforms and prosecutions. A series on working conditions at Amazon warehouses was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize and won a Gerald Loeb Award. His work has also won multiple Investigative Reporters and Editors Awards, including for a series on safety problems at Tesla. Other investigations exposed secret spying at Uber, illegal discrimination in the temp industry and rampant fraud in California's drug rehab system for the poor. Prior to joining The Center for Investigative Reporting in 2005, Evans was a reporter at The Sacramento Bee.