Posts Tagged ‘Age Discrimination in Employment Act’

Indigestion: Darden’s Restaurant Bellies Up Nearly $3M to Settle Nationwide Age Bias Suit

It’s costing a national restaurant change big bucks to settle a discrimination lawsuit that alleges it didn’t consider older persons fairly for employment.

Seasons 52, a national, Orlando-based restaurant chain and part of the Darden family of restaurants, will pay $2.85 million and provide significant equitable relief to settle a nationwide class age discrimination lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced Thursday.

The EEOC’s lawsuit sought relief for applicants age 40 and older that had been denied front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house positions at 35 Seasons 52 restaurants around the country. During the course of the litigation, over 135 applicants provided sworn testimony that Seasons 52 managers asked them their age or made age-related comments during their interviews, including: “Seasons 52 girls are younger and fresh,” “Most of the workers are younger,” “Seasons 52 hires young people,” or “We are really looking for someone younger.” The company also hired applicants age 40 and older at a significantly lower rate than applicants under the age of 40.

Age discrimination in employment violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The EEOC filed its suit, Civil Action No. 15-cv-20561-JAL, in February 2015 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The consent decree resolving the case sets up a claims process that will identify and compensate those affected individuals age 40 and older who applied to Seasons 52 for a front-of-the-house or back-of-the-house positions at 35 Seasons 52 restaurants but were denied a position on the basis of age.

In addition to the monetary relief, the decree requires significant changes to Seasons 52’s recruitment and hiring processes. It also includes an injunction preventing Seasons 52 from discriminating on the basis of age in the future and requires the company to pay for a decree compliance monitor, who is charged with ensuring that the company does not discriminate further and complies with the decree’s terms.

The EEOC was represented by Trial Attorneys Kristen Foslid, Ana Consuelo Martinez, Beatriz Andre, Daniel Seltzer and Supervisory Trial Attorney Kimberly Cruz.

“As we commemorate May as Older Americans Month, we should be mindful that age discrimination continues to keep too many older, experienced American workers out of the workforce – many of whom are not working as a matter of choice, but as a matter of need,” said EEOC Acting Chair Victoria A. Lipnic. “I am very proud of the relief the EEOC has obtained here, including almost three million dollars in financial relief, and, perhaps even more important, strong equitable relief to ensure that applicants and workers do not face this sort of discrimination in the future. I commend our investigative and trial teams in Miami for their outstanding work.”

EEOC Trial Attorney Kristen Foslid said, “Although ageism is among the most common forms of employment discrimination, applicants who are turned down rarely know the reason why. When an employer has a trend of rejecting older applicants, the EEOC will respond aggressively to combat age stereotypes.”

Michael Farrell, district director for the EEOC’s Miami District Office, said, “The EEOC is committed to enforcing the federal law that prohibits discrimination against older workers.”

Robert E. Weisberg, EEOC district regional attorney, added, “When an employer shuns an employee simply because of age, everyone loses. The employer loses experience, wisdom and institutional memory. The employee, of course, loses his or her livelihood. In this case, with a class of discrimination victims nationwide, that’s a lot of loss for everyone.”

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Open Wide: Dental Practice to Pay $47K to Settle Age Bias Lawsuit Over Age-65 Retirement Rule

Apparently word hadn’t gotten to this Michigan dental practice that requiring employees to retire at a specific age doesn’t sit well with our employment discrimination laws.

A Southfield, Mich.-based oral surgery practice will pay $47,000 to settle an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

The EEOC’s lawsuit charged that Professional Endodontics, P.C. violated federal law by firing Karen Ruerat four days after her 65th birthday. According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Ruerat, who had worked for the company for 37 years, was terminated in January 2016 pursuant to a company policy which required employees to retire at age 65.

This alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Professional Endodontics, P.C., Case No. 4:17-cv-13466 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The consent decree settling the suit, in addition to providing for the award of monetary relief to Ruerat, prohibits any similar discrimination in the future and requires Professional Endodontics to provide anti-discrimination training to its employees. The training will include instruction on the practices made unlawful under the ADEA.

“December 2017 marked the 50th anniversary of the ADEA,” said Kenneth Bird, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Indianapolis District Office. “Five decades later, the EEOC remains committed to vigorously enforcing that all-important law. Private employers need to understand that mandatory retirement policies run afoul of the ADEA and will be met with challenge.”

The Detroit Field Office is part of the Indianapolis District Office, which oversees Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and parts of Ohio.

Staffing Firm Out $50K in ADEA Settlement

Few employers are apparently as dumb as this one when it comes to putting out its age bias for all to see.

Diverse Lynx, LLC, a Princeton, New Jersey-based IT staffing firm with offices in Princeton and Noida, India, will pay $50,000 and will undertake significant remedial measures to settle an age discrimination lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

The EEOC alleged that Diverse Lynx violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) when, after learning an applicant’s date of birth, the company sent the applicant an email stating that he would no longer be considered for the position because he was “born in 1945” and “age will matter.” The ADEA prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of age, including discrimination in referrals by employment agencies.

Under the consent decree entered by the Court, Diverse Lynx is prohibited from considering an applicant’s age when deciding whether to refer them to a job opening. In addition, Diverse Lynx may not request or solicit an applicant’s year of birth before referring the applicant to a prospective employer. Diverse Lynx has agreed that it will provide its employees, including its managers and supervisors, with live training that addresses federal anti-discrimination laws, and complaint and reporting procedures. Diverse Lynx also agrees that it will not retaliate against persons who complain of discriminatory conduct or practices.

“A basic principle of anti-discrimination law requires that job applicants be judged on their individual qualifications. Employers and employment agencies that consider an applicant’s protected trait, such as age, violate federal law and will be prosecuted,” said EEOC senior trial attorney Rosemary DiSavino.

Kevin Berry, district director of the EEOC’s New York District Office, added, “This case should send a clear message that federal anti-discrimination laws apply to employment agencies as well as employers. An employment agency’s refusal to refer a qualified applicant because of the applicant’s age is a plain violation of the ADEA.”

The New York District Office oversees New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire and most of New Jersey.

EEOC Recoups $400K for Older Fired Nurses

When you fire a whole bunch of employees for performance deficiencies, don’t single out those who are in the protected age group of 40 years old and above.

Montrose Memorial Hospital will pay $400,000 and furnish other relief to settle an age discrimination lawsuit brought by the EEOC, the agency announced on Jan. 4.

Montrose violated federal law when 29 employees, aged 40 and older, were fired or forced to resign, the EEOC said. The longtime employees, many with 10 to 20 or more years of work history at the hospital, were fired for supposed performance deficiencies for which younger employees were treated more leniently.

The EEOC suit also alleged that hospital managers made ageist comments, including that younger nurses could “dance around the older nurses” and that they preferred younger and “fresher” nurses.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects individuals 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age. The EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado (EEOC v. Montrose Memorial Hospital, Inc., Case No. 1:16-cv-02277-WYD-GPG (D. Colo.)) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to monetary damages, the consent decree settling the suit requires Montrose to conduct annual anti-discrimination training for its employees, managers, supervisors and human resources employees. Montrose will also revise and distribute its anti-discrimination policy, and report to EEOC any complaints of age discrimination. The court approved the settlement and will retain jurisdiction for purposes of compliance for three years.

“The ADEA is clear – age-based discrimination is prohibited by federal law,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill. “As we mark the 50th anniversary of the ADEA this year, the EEOC remains committed to the elimination of age discrimination in the workplace.”

EEOC Phoenix District Director Elizabeth Cadle said, “This resolution is an excellent result for the discrimination victims in this case, who will receive compensation, and for all current hospital employees, who we expect will see an improved working environment where they will not be mistreated based on their age.”

The EEOC’s Phoenix District Office has jurisdiction over Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.

Tooth Ache: Dentist’s Office Fired Long-Time Worker Because She Turned 65, EEOC Alleges

Karen Ruerat gave over three decades of her working life to a Michigan dental surgery practice, and what did she get for her troubles?

A pink slip just days after she turned 65, says the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Professional Endodontics, P.C., a dental surgery practice based in Southfield, Mich., with three locations, violated federal law by firing an employee because of her age, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC lawsuit, Karen Ruerat had been employed as a receptionist for Professional Endodontics for over 37 years when she was fired four days after her 65th birthday due to a company policy that mandated retirement at age 65.

Such alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age. The EEOC filed suit (Case No. 2:17-cv-13466 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC is seeking injunctive relief prohibiting Professional Endodontics from discriminating against other employees based on age, monetary relief including back pay and liquidated damages, and other affirmative relief for Ruerat.

“Terminating an employee because he or she turns 65 is illegal,” said Miles Uhlar, trial attorney for the EEOC’s Detroit Field Office. “The EEOC is pursuing this matter because federal law provides specific protection to members of our workforce, like Ms. Ruerat, who are age 40 or above.”

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.

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.