Posts Tagged ‘Age Discrimination in Employment Act’

Age Was Saleman’s Undoing, EEOC Alleges

Sales is a tough enough career without the drag of age discrimination.

A 47-year-old sales leader with experience in the textile industry was unlawfully fired by Indian Land, S.C., textile manufacturer Keer America Corporation because of his age, the  Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charged in a lawsuit filed last Friday, September 1.

According to the EEOC’s suit, Keer America fired Scott Gamble during his second week of employment. The EEOC said that Gamble was offered a job by the company’s human resources generalist on April 18, 2015, and began working for the company on April 27. The EEOC charged that the plant manager ordered the human resources generalist to rescind Gamble’s job offer prior to his starting work after the plant manager saw Gamble’s driver’s license and learned of his age. The human resources generalist refused to rescind Gamble’s job offer. On May 8, the plant manager fired Gamble.

Such alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which prohibits employers from discriminating based on age. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, Rock Hill Division (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Keer America Corporation) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency seeks back pay for Gamble along with liquidated damages and injunctive relief to prevent future discrimination.

“People who are age 40 and over are fully capable of being productive workers,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office. “Employers must remember that they cannot consider age in hiring selections or other employment decisions.”

The EEOC, which enforces the ADEA, is observing that law’s 50th anniversary this year by paying special attention to the ongoing problem of age discrimination, including a June 14 Commission meeting on the subject.

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EEOC Wins Relief in Two Age Bias Cases

Comes word that employers in separate cases have settled claims of age discrimination in employment filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Office of Public Records will pay $60,000 and costs to settle a federal age discrimination lawsuit filed,  the EEOC announced on July 24.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Joseph Bednarik, who was over 40 years old, had graduated from law school with honors and had about 30 years of legal experience, including about 17 years with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, when he applied for an appeals officer position with the Office of Public Records. Appeals officers review citizen challenges to refusals by state government agencies to provide government records under Pennsylvania’s “open records” statute.

The EEOC charged that during Bednarik’s second interview for the position, the executive director of the Office of Public Records expressed concerns that Bednarik might not have a long tenure with the agency since he had already worked for the commonwealth for 17 years and might be nearing retirement. Despite Bednarik’s qualifications and positive employment reference, the Office of Public Affairs selected a significantly less experienced and younger applicant because of Bednarik’s age, the EEOC said.

Such alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), which makes it illegal to discriminate against individuals 40 or older based on age. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Office of Open Records, Civil Action No. 1-15-cv-01895) in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

“The EEOC will take vigorous action when an employer makes a hiring decision because of age,” said EEOC Philadelphia District Office Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence.

Spencer H. Lewis, Jr., director of the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office, added, “As we mark the 50th anniversary of the ADEA this year, this case illustrates that age discrimination remains a serious problem in the workplace. This resolution should send a strong message to all employers, public and private, that the EEOC will not tolerate age discrimination in the workplace.”

In the second settlement, also announced on July 24, the EEOC said that SAN JUAN, P.R. – Meat Market San Juan, LLC, a steakhouse in San Juan, P.R., has agreed to pay a monetary amount to unsuccessful job applicants and to maintain a workplace free of discrimination to resolve an age discrimination investigation by the agency’s San Juan Local Office.

The agreement, a voluntary resolution, results from a multi-year EEOC investigation into Meat Market’s hiring and recruitment practices. As part of the agreement, Meat Market agreed to maintain a policy of hiring candidates without regard to their age.

Meat Market San Juan, LLC denied the allegations of the investigation but agreed to conciliate the matter with the EEOC. The parties have reached a resolution stipulating that Meat Market will take affirmative steps to institute new hiring and recruitment policies and put in place measures aimed at ensuring that age does not factor into hiring decisions in the future.

“We appreciate that Meat Market worked cooperatively with the EEOC to resolve this charge,” said William Sanchez, director of the EEOC’s San Juan Local Office. “This agreement ensures that the company will take proactive measures to prevent discrimination in the future by putting in place effective recruitment and hiring practices.”

The San Juan Local Office is part of the EEOC’s Miami District. The Miami District is responsible for investigating charges of discrimination in the State of Florida, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

EEOC: Older Foreman Shown Door Due to Bias

In the same week that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission heard testimony on the persistence of bias against older workers, the commission filed suit on behalf of a production foreman who allegedly was pushed out of his age by a new superintendent.

According to the EEOC, Fort-Worth-based Atlas Resource Partners fired Production Foreman William Hutto despite his record of strong performance for the company. Prior to his termination, Hutto had never been disciplined. The EEOC expects to present evidence that Mr. Hutto was a strong and capable worker who was highly regarded by his peers.

The EEOC claims that the production superintendent who terminated Hutto also made ageist comments regarding Hutto’s co-workers, including the repeated remarks about being “too old to do the job.”

“Mr. Hutto had the work experience and the ability to bring Atlas continued success, but top management unlawfully opted for youth over experience without respect to qualifications,” said EEOC Trial Attorney Joel Clark.

EEOC Dallas District Office Regional Attorney Robert A. Canino added, “This is a straightforward case of someone being put in charge who arbitrarily decides to pull the plug on someone else’s job. When that kind of action is based on a worker being in his 50s, rather than on qualifications, productivity or conduct, it not only fails to take advantage of some of a company’s best assets, but violates federal law.”

Atlas Resource Partners is a business that develops, acquires and manages oil and gas properties, with an interest in over 14,000 wells across 12 states, including Texas.

On June 14, the day before the suit was filed, experts told the EEOC that persistent age discrimination and stereotypes about older workers continue to channel older workers out of the workforce, limiting further economic growth. The views were expressed during a  public meeting today entitled “The ADEA @ 50 – More Relevant Than Ever,” held at agency headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The meeting was held to mark the 50th anniversary of the passage of the ADEA in 1967.

For more on what was said at the meeting, click here.

Agency’s Rejection of Applicant “Born in 1945” Lands It in Federal Court Opposite the EEOC

And speaking of age discrimination, a New Jersey staffing firm is in hot legal waters with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over its alleged refusal to refer a job applicant because of his age.

In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that after Princeton-based Diverse Lynx learned of the applicant’s date of birth, the company sent the applicant an email stating that he would no longer be considered for the position because, according to the email, he was “born in 1945” and “age will matter.”

“Federal laws plainly prohibit employment agencies and staffing firms from engaging in age discrimination,” said Kevin Berry, the EEOC’s New York District director. “The firm told the man, ‘age will matter.’ Actually, the only things that matter are abilities and qualifications, and the EEOC is here to help make sure that’s the way it is in American workplaces.”

DiSavino added, “Apparently Diverse Lynx wasn’t very diverse in its referral practices. Sometimes the EEOC must take action to remind employers that age discrimination is inexcusable and unlawful.”

EEOC filed the suit against the firm on May 9.

EEOC Sues Restaurant on Behalf of Experienced Applicant Told He Couldn’t “Maximize Longevity”

Use the phrase “maximize longevity” in the hiring process could be a smokescreen for age discrimination.

Or so the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission no doubt will argue in its age discrimination lawsuit against a Ruby Tuesday’s restaurant in Florida.

According to the EEOC’s suit, filed on May 17, the company declined to hire a qualified applicant with over 20 years of experience in the food and beverage industry for a general manager position at its Boca Raton restaurant. In response to an inquiry by the applicant as to why Ruby Tuesday declined to hire him, the company informed him it was seeking a candidate who could “maximize longevity.”

“In the South Florida area, we represent the interests of many different people,” said Michael Farrell, director of the EEOC’s Miami District Office. “Age cannot be a factor in whether or not someone can earn a living.”

Restaurant Serves Up $12M in Settlement of Nationwide ADEA Lawsuit Over Hiring Practices

Texas Roadhouse wasn’t going to take its changes with a jury a second time over allegations that it wouldn’t consider applicants over 40 and over for “front of the house” positions such as hostess and server.

The national Kentucky-based restaurant chain just agreed to fork out $12 million to settle an age discrimination in employment act lawsuit.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed suit against the company in 2011, accuses it of engaging in a nationwide pattern and practice of illegal age discrimination by hiring only younger-looking people in “front of the house” positions like hostess and server.

After a four-week trial earlier this year, the case ended in a hung jury. It was scheduled for retrial on May 15.

The chain apparently didn’t want to risk going to trial again, so it agreed to the hefty settlement.

Under the settlement, affected individuals age 40 and older who applied to Texas Roadhouse for a front-of-the-house position between Jan. 1, 2007, and Dec. 31, 2014, can apply for relief.

“I am pleased to see this matter come to a mutually agreed-upon resolution,” said EEOC Acting Chair Victoria A. Lipnic. “As we mark the 50th anniversary of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) this year, it is as important as ever to recognize the very real consequences of age discrimination and the need for job opportunities for older workers.”

Here’s my writeup on the suit from 2011.

Out Front: Restaurant Barred Older Applicants From Server, Host Jobs, EEOC Charges in Suit

Older Americans have a tough enough time getting hired when they are up against younger competition. The last thing they need is to have an employer actively refuse to consider them because of their age.

But according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, that’s what a Houston-based restaurant change did.

EEOC’s lawsuit said that since at least 2008, Bayou City Wings has been discriminating against a class of applicants for “front of house” positions, such as food servers and hosts, by failing to hire them because of their age (40 years and older).

According to EEOC’s lawsuit, Bayou City Wings’ upper management instructed other managers not to recruit and hire older job seekers and disciplined and terminated a manager who refused to comply. The agency also charged that since at least 2008 to about November 2013, the company failed to preserve employment records, including the job applications of unsuccessful applicants, in violation of federal law.

Here’s more on the lawsuit.