Suit filed against Tenn. woman over fraudulent employment agencies‏

Nick Rees Oct. 13, 2009, 5:49pm

Bob Cooper (D)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Legal Newsline) - Tennessee's attorney general has filed a lawsuit against a woman who is alleged to have mislead the public about what services her four employment agencies offered.

Linda McCluskey, the owner of the current agency, Britton James & Associates, as well as three former agencies -- The Franklin Group of America, Hamilton Clark International and The Renaissance Group International -- and the principal of at least four separate employment agencies, is alleged to have promised to find consumers jobs at exaggerated salary levels.

"Unfortunately, record high unemployment creates an environment where some try to take advantage of others by giving them false hope with a large price tag and little or nothing in return," Attorney General Bob Cooper said.

McCluskey is also alleged to have promised career development, career management and career transition services as well as other related job placement services.

Consumers who came to McCluskey are alleged to have been charged an up-front fee, which is a violation of the state consumer and employment agency laws. Under the Tennessee Employment Agency Act, employment agencies can only collect fees after the agency has secured an employee a paid position.

McCluskey advertised on job-seeking websites that her businesses were seeking qualified candidates for jobs ranging from $50,000 to $500,000 in salary. When consumers contacted the companies over the ads, they were informed that the business had contacts in the companies who could place the applicant "in front of the decision makers." The applicants were then told that, in addition to the high salaries, that they should expect a signing bonus.

McCluskey and her businesses are accused of failing to deliver on the promised contracts, not arranging interviews, and even failing to contact and employers at all. She is also alleged to have used several aliases to post identical advertisements on various Web sites, all of which made that same fraudulent representations.

More than 120 inquiries were received by the Better Business Bureau into McLuskey's Britton James & Associates alias. More than a dozen people have filed complaints against McCluskey and her various aliases.

The lawsuit against McCluskey seeks restitution for consumers as well as penalties and an injunction to prevent McCluskey or her associates from operating an allegedly fraudulent and misleading employment agency or from engaging in unlawful practices in the state.

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