Posts Tagged ‘ageist comments’

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.

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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.

EEOC: Hospital Forced Out Older Nurses

A hospital in western Colorado could be on the hook for monetary damages if its alleged mistreatment of older nurses turns out to be true.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced on Friday that has filed sit against Montrose Memorial Hospital, a hospital in Montrose, western Colorado, accusing it of violating the Age Discrimination in Employment Act by firing employees or forcing them to resign because of their age.

According to EEOC’s lawsuit, Katherine Casias worked as a licensed practical nurse and registered nurse for 27 years with the hospital before Montrose fired her, accusing her of performance defici­encies for which younger nurses were treated much more leniently.

This was against the backdrop of hospital managers making ageist comments, including that younger nurses could “dance around the older nurses” and that they preferred younger and “fresher” nurses, the EEOC charged. EEOC seeks relief for Casias and a group of employees, aged 40 and older, who were fired or forced to resign due to their ages.

“Research shows that pervasive stereotypes about older workers still persist – for example, there are widespread stereotypes that older workers are less motivated, flexible, or trusting and that a younger workforce is preferable,” said Phoenix District EEOC Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill.  “These stereotypes are flatly untrue and must be recognized for what they are – prejudice and false assumptions.”