Posts Tagged ‘age discrimination’

EEOC: NY Staffing Co. Violated Multiple Laws

The fix is allegedly in at this staffing agency against black applicants, persons with disabilities, and persons over age 50.

Staffing Solutions of WNY Inc., a Buffalo-based staffing company that places employees with clients throughout Western New York, violated federal laws prohibiting hiring discrimination, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed on May 17.

According to the complaint, EEOC contends that Staffing Solutions either refused to hire highly qualified Black applicants or placed them in the lowest paying, least desirable jobs.  Further, EEOC alleges that Staffing Solutions’ owner, Kathleen Faulhaber, regularly referred to Black applicants as “n—-rs,” instructed her staff to comply with clients’ race and sex preferences, placed employees in positions based on race and sex, and rejected pregnant applicants.

Additionally, the complaint alleges that applicants over the age of 50, applicants with disabilities, and those whom the company deemed disabled were routinely rejected by Staffing Solutions. EEOC contends that applicants were improperly asked for their dates of birth and about injuries and medical conditions, and that Staffing Solutions rejected applicants considered too old and those who revealed health issues, such as cancer, blindness, or back injuries.

Finally, EEOC charges that an office manager for Staffing Solutions complained about the illegal hiring practices and voiced objections to Faulhaber’s repeated use of racial slurs, but was warned that she would be fired if she failed to comply.  The office manager felt she had no choice but to resign.

Staffing Solutions’ alleged hiring practices violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act which prohibit discrimination on the basis of age, disability, race, or sex, as well as retaliation.

The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York (EEOC v. Staffing Solutions of WNY, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-00562) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks back pay; compensatory, liquidated, and punitive damages; and injunctive relief. The agency’s litigation effort will be led by Trial Attorneys Daniel Seltzer, Elizabeth Fox-Solomon, and Supervisory Trial Attorney Nora Curtin.

“Staffing Solutions’ conduct hearkens back to a time over half a century ago, before the passage of federal laws that make this type of discriminatory hiring illegal,” said Jeffrey Burstein, regional attorney for EEOC’s New York District Office. “The EEOC is sending a clear message with this lawsuit: those days are over.”

Kevin Berry, the EEOC’s New York district director, added “Staffing companies are playing an increasingly large role in our economy. The EEOC will fight to ensure that they do not become an instrument of discrimination. The law is clear that honoring discriminatory client requests is illegal.”

“I’m proud to have been born and raised in Buffalo,” said Curtin. “Buffalonians, and all Americans, deserve to be hired based on their qualifications, without regard to age, disability, race or sex.”

Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring, and preserving access to the legal system by eliminating retaliation are national priorities identified by the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).

The EEOC’s New York District Office is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, northern New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The Buffalo Local Office conducted the investigation resulting in this lawsuit.

EEOC Hits School District Over Retaliation

Employers can’t exact retribution on employees who file employment discrimination claims. That truism may have eluded this Michigan school system.

The Waterford Public School System, a school district located in Waterford, Mich., violated federal law when it failed to recall a tenured teacher back to work in retaliation for his having filed a charge alleging age discrimination, the EEOC charged in a lawsuit it filed Thursday.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, a former history and social studies teacher was subjected to a layoff. Because the teacher believed he was laid off because of his age, he filed a discrimination charge with the EEOC. Since then, the school district has recalled other teachers to work full time and hired a full-time social studies teacher, but has not recalled this teacher to his former position.

Such alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). After attempting to reach a pre-litigation resolution through its conciliation process, the EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District Court of Michigan (EEOC v. Waterford Public School System, Case No. 2:18-cv-11015). The agency seeks to recover monetary compensation for the employee and an injunction prohibiting the school district from engaging in retaliation in the future.

“Employees who oppose discriminatory practices have the right to do so without incurring harm to their careers and their livelihood,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Kenneth Bird.

The EEOC’s 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.

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.”

EEOC Outs Parking Mgmt. Co. For Rejecting Applicant Because of “Physicality of Job”

Stereotypes about age and gender were factors in the decision by a Georgia parking management company to reject a 60-year-old female applicant for a valet job, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it recently filed.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, on or about Jan. 12, 2016, 60-year-old Valencia Hayden applied for a valet position with Eagle Parking. During her interview, the operations manager looked at Hayden’s application and told her that she would not be successful as a valet because of the “physicality of the job.”  Instead, the operations manager told Hayden that she would be perfect for a customer service position and told Hayden to come back the following week to attend orientation. The day before she was scheduled to begin her new positon, Hayden called to ask what time she should report. However, the operations manager told Hayden that the job had already been filled. Eagle Parking’s records show that, after Hayden was interviewed, it hired several male valets and customer service employees who were substantially younger than Hayden.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The EEOC filed suit (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Eagle Parking, LLC, Civil Action No. 1:17-cv-2904-TWT-CMS) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The federal agency seeks back pay, compensa­tory damages, punitive damages and liquidated damages for Hayden, as well as injunctive relief designed to prevent such discrimination in the future.

“This suit sends a strong message to employers that applicants must be judged strictly on their ability to perform the job, and not on stereotypes associated with their gender and age,” said Bernice Williams-Kimbrough, director of the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office.

Antonette Sewell, regional attorney for the Atlanta District Office, added, “What is most disturbing about this case is that the hiring official automatically assumed that Ms. Hayden was not qualified to work as a valet or customer service parking manager because of her age and the fact that she is a woman. Such managerial behavior is not legal or acceptable in the 21st century.”

Phoenix Restaurant Rife With Harassment, Ageism Against Women, Alleges the EEOC

Families in Arizona shouldn’t let their wives, sisters or daughters work at Phoenix restaurant Mariscos Altata. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the business is a hotbed of mistreatment of women.

The commission charged in a lawsuit filed last week that the female employees of Mariscos Altata were subjected to unwanted touching, grabbing, fondling, sexual comments, requests for sex and other unlawful conduct since at least February 2011.

According to the EEOC, one female was subjected to harassment based on her age, including comments that she was a “worthless old lady” and coworkers taking bets on her age. The lawsuit further alleges that Mariscos Altata fired the women when they refused to comply with the sexual demands they endured.

“Employees must be able to go to work in an environment where they are not constantly subjected to abusive behavior,” said EEOC Phoenix District Office Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill. “The agency takes this behavior extremely seriously, and is taking steps to make sure that employers know that restaurants need to be a safe place for women to work.”

Read more about this lawsuit filed on March 30.

Too Old to Wear Jeans

Robin Paggi, our resident guest blogger, discusses that hostility toward older persons is nothing new and laws against age discrimination won’t make it go away. Something more is needed.

Too Old To Wear Jeans

I found out recently that I’m too old to wear jeans. I’m 54 and, according to a new survey out of England, I should have stopped wearing them last year. It’s not that middle-aged people like me don’t look good in jeans anymore, the survey report assures us; it’s because we can’t handle the stress of searching for the right pair. Perhaps I’m unique, but I don’t get stressed out shopping for clothes.

Are the British so fragile that having to try on numerous pairs of jeans is too much for them to handle? Or, are people 53 and older being discouraged from wearing jeans because the 18-24-year old survey respondents think they’re too old to wear them? I’m willing to bet it’s the “too old” thing.

Disdain for one’s elders, whether it’s because of wearing jeans or not, is nothing new. In her article “Why young people need to look at older people differently,” Lauren Stiller Rikleen says that, “Throughout history, elders in the community were treated with respect, revered as wise sources of advice resulting from their life experiences.” Yeah, we’d like to think that.

However, A.J. Jacobs disagrees with that sentiment. In his article “Coming of age,” Jacobs says that, “In the good old days, it wasn’t so good to be old” and provides a number of examples of how being old was frequently not in one’s best interest. Here’s one: in 19th-century England, many old people were put into workhouses and forced to labor for free. Says Jacobs, “You were essentially put in jail for overstaying your welcome.” Maybe resentment toward old people is in their DNA and explains why young Brits are against middle-aged jean-wearers.

Perhaps Rikleen meant that elders used to be treated with respect in America. If that were true, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 probably wouldn’t have been necessary. The act prohibits employers from making employment decisions about applicants and employees (such as hiring, promoting, firing, etc.) because of being 40 or older (I guess 40 was considered to be old in 1967). However, age discrimination continues to happen. It’s a more prevalent issue now because people are staying at work far longer than they did historically. And, it’s a more prevalent issue for women than men.

In a different article by Rikleen called “Older women are being forced out of the workforce,” she says that she travelled the U.S. for the past five years and heard hundreds of stories from women in their 50s and 60s about their demotions, job losses, and inability to find other jobs, which they attributed to their age and gender. “These women often have long histories of career success, but they have seen their responsibilities assigned to younger workers, their compensation lowered for inexplicable reasons, and their career mobility impaired by a workplace that seems to value youth over experience,” according to Rikleen.

Gerald Metals, a commodities trading company in Connecticut, is being accused of doing just that. The company recently fired its 61-year-old female general counsel, who immediately filed suit for age and gender bias. In her article, “Older women have it rough!” Patti C. Perez says that plaintiff Roxanne Khazarian claims the company has a “good ol’ boy” network and a new male CEO who is “dedicated to lowering the age of employees by 15 years.” Additionally, the CEO allegedly gave raises and bonuses to younger employees, but not older employees; provided younger, prettier women with better pay, bonuses, and flexible work schedules; and prevented employees from discussing compensation so the pay inequities would not be discovered. The suit also alleges retaliation because Khazarian was fired after she complained about the situation.

Perhaps the younger employees were out-performing the older employees, which is a good business reason for providing them with raises and bonuses. And perhaps the flexible schedules for younger women was because of accommodating their pregnancies or other medical leaves, which is required by law. However, employers don’t get to prevent employees from discussing their pay, nor do they get to fire people because they complain about perceived discrimination.

A law against age discrimination is nice, and the older I get the more I appreciate it. However, the law is not enough to make discrimination go away. The point Rikleen is trying to make in the first of her articles that I cited above is that, because of today’s glorification of youth, younger people now tend to “perpetuate stereotyped notions of a person’s value based, in large measure, on age.” The only way age discrimination will cease is when the young value the old for what they can contribute instead of the way they look.

I’m going shopping to buy a new pair of jeans now that I’m done here. Just my little way of contributing to the cause.

Robin Paggi is the Training Coordinator at Worklogic HR.

She last wrote for us on  Cultural Diversity Workshops and before that Managing Five Generations at Work, before that on Accommodating Religious Beliefs and before that on Politics and Work and before that on Emojis-A Workplace Communications Menace and before that on Alcoholism and the ADA in Employment. To read her previous columns, search Paggi in the search box at the top of this home page.