September 28, 2012

What Damages Can You Be Awarded In A Sexual Harassment Case

So my Chicago office gets calls all the time from people who want to know what damages they can recover if they file a sexual harassment case. Well part of the answer will depend on where the sexual harassment case is filed. If you are employed in Chicago you have three choices for filing. You can file with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR"), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") or the Chicago Commission on Human Relations ("CCHR"). So which agency should you file your case with? Well it will be fact specific but here are some generalizations. As an aside if you file with the IDHR, they automatically cross file with the EEOC so in essence you get a two for one.

Filing with the CCHR gives you something that you can't get from either the IDHR or EEOC--punitive damages. Punitive damages are monies that are given to punish a company or person for the conduct. This type of damage is most suited where the conduct was so egregious that it would shock a normal reasonable person. So for example if the boss called you into his office and pulled out his penis, that would be such behavior. And if the company knew about it and did not take any action, this would raise the amount of money you may get. Otherwise, the IDHR and EEOC have similar forms of damage--except with the EEOC you can get statutory damages based on the number of employees. A good employment attorney can go through this information with you.

September 20, 2012

Radio Shack Must Pay $187,000 To A Settle Discrimination Lawsuit

Radio Shack lost a discrmiination lawsuit that was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). A jury returned a verdict in favor of David Nelson and awarded him $187,000. The lawsuit was filed on counts based on retaliation for his complaints about age discrimination. According to published accounst Nelson was 55 years old and had been employed for more than 25 years when Radio Shack assigned a new, younger regional manager to supervise him. Within four months of the new supervisor's arrival Nelson, who had a spotless performance record, was placed on two performance improvement plans. This is usually what a company does when they want to fire an employee.

Nelson complained to the human resources department because he felt he was being singled out because of his age. Within five days of the first complaint and more importantly before the period for assessing the improvement in his performance had expired, Radio Shack terminated Nelson in retaliation for his age discrimination complaint. And what is even more important, Nelson may be able to received double his lost wages because the jury found the conduct of Radio Shack to be willful. This case should serve as a warning and wake-up call to employers.

"It is particularly important for the EEOC to vigorously enforce the anti-retaliation provisions in the employment discrimination laws." said EEOC attorney Rita Kittle
July 24, 2012

Healthcare Company Settles Age Discrimination Lawsuit For $193,236

Hawaii Healthcare Professionals, Inc.pay $193,236 to settle an age discrimination lawsuit. The age discrimination lawsuit was the result of the company firing the woman due to her age. The case was first filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). Under the law if you are 40 or over you are a member of a protected class and cannot be treated different than younger workers.

In this case Carolyn Frutoz-De Harne, ordered the 2008 termination of Debra Moreno, a then-54-year-old office coordinator. The termination proceeded despite reports by the facility’s manager, who actually hired and supervised Moreno, that Moreno was a thorough and efficient worker. Another words, she was doing her job and there was no legitimate business reason for firing her. The real reason for the firing was Moreno's age. Here is the proof, Frutoz-De Harne allegedly ordered that Moreno be fired after telling the manager that Moreno “looks old,” “sounds old on the telephone,” and is “like a bag of bones.” That is terrible that a person in authority would speak about an employee in that manner.

“When I learned that my age was the reason for the disparaging remarks and termination, I was embarrassed and demoralized. For me, it was the ultimate blow. Age had never before been a consideration for me,” said Moreno.
May 28, 2012

Temple School District Pays $148,000 To Settle Age Discrimination Lawsuit

Tempe Elementary School District pays $148,092 to settle an age discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to published accounts the school district utilized an early retirement incentive plan and a normal retirement plan which granted greater economic benefits to younger employees based solely on their age. This type of plan is violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA").

The school district recently revised its retirement plans to comply with the ADEA as a result of the litigation. You can see what a positive result that occurred because of the litigation. The agency obtained all the actual damages it sought, together with interest.

“Discrimination on the basis of age is simply illegal. People in their 60s should not be penalized merely because they want to continue working. A retirement plan which states, for example, that employees 52 years old will receive a greater economic benefit than an employee 61 years old for retiring early is discriminatory on its face.” said EEOC attorney Mary Jo O'Neill

May 23, 2012

A. Carrolton Settles Age Discrimination Lawsuit For $200,000

A Carrollton pays $200,000 to settle an age discrimination lawsuit. The discrimination lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Dan Miller. According to published accounts regarding this lawsuit, vice president and general manager, Gary Craven, made inappropriate age comments to Dan Miller, a 64-year-old national sales manager. Eventually Craven fired Miller because of his age. To make matters worse, the day after Miller was fired he was replaced by a worker in his 30's.

Some facts which really helped Miller in this case were the fact that Miller had almost 20 years experience selling the company's products. He was also hired by the company founder. Some of the language used to show age discrimination included calling Miller "old-fashioned" and repeatedly expressing his preference to hire younger salesmen with his motto: "30-30-30. What the vice president meant by that was hire a 30-year-old with an IQ of 30 and pay him $30,000. I guess we can see who had the IQ of 30.

"Older workers have the right to be evaluated based on their abilities and not based on their age," said EEOC Attorney William C. Backhaus.

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May 12, 2012

Central Freight Lines Inc. Pays $400,000 To Settle Age Discrimination Lawsuit

Central Freight Lines Inc. pays $400,000 to settle an age discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit was first filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The money will be paid to eight former dockworkers. You have to remember that a company would not pay this amount of money to settle a case unless there was merit to it.

Published accounts alleges Central Freight Lines, Inc. discriminated against Ricky Curry, John Bean, Paul Elwell, Richard Harris, James Thurmond, Keith Vessels, Purvis Carter and Reynaldo Tijerina by selecting them for termination because of their age in an reduction in force. Many times the company will disguise an age discrimination activity by claiming a reduction in force. Some of the men had worked at the company for 20 or more years and were approximately 50 years old and older. This type of activity is illegal and you can see it cost the company some money.

"It is an injustice to terminate these loyal workers who gave so many years of their lives to Central Freight," said William C. Backhaus, EEOC attorney. "Laying people off because of their age is a violation of federal law."

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April 13, 2012

EEOC Settles Age Discrimination Lawsuit For $574,000

Kelley Drye & Warren, a law firm with over 300 attorneys, settles an age discrimination lawsuit by paying $574,000. The firm also agreed to end its policy of requiring partners to give up their equity in the firm once they reach 70 years of age. The age discrimination lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Eugene D'Ablemont. According to documents which have been made public, attorneys who wanted to practice law after reaching 70 could only do so by giving up all ownership interest in the firm. Because the policy of the firm was tied to age, the EEOC alleged discrimination based on age was taking place.

Requiring people over 70 to give up their equity resulted in significant under-compensation of D’Ablemont, who has continued to practice law full-time at the firm since he turned 70 in 2000. The EEOC alleged that this conduct violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), which prohibits discrimination based on age, including in compensation. I am glad the EEOC made the firm take a good look at its' policy and change it. People should be judged on their merits, not their race, color, gender or age.

"There is no reason why attorneys who are capable of continuing to practice at 70 either should be forced to retire or otherwise be dissuaded from continuing to work in their chosen profession just because of their age,” said EEOC General Counsel P. David Lopez.
March 29, 2012

EEOC Issues Age Discrimination Final Regulations

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") issued the what is called the “Final Regulation on Disparate Impact and Reasonable Factors Other than Age” ("RFOA") under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 ("ADEA"). This would apply to anyone filing a claim of age discrimination in Chicago. Under the ADEA you cannot engage in discrimination based on a persons age. The law covers people 40 and over In affect, a company can't hire people younger than 40 unless they have a compelling reason why that person is more qualified than someone over 40 for the position. This would also apply to promotions and reductions in force. An employment law attorney can help you discuss the facts of your case to see if you have any legal recourse.

Under the law a company can claim a RFOA defense and this new interpretation by the EEOC makes regulations consistent with Supreme Court case law. This rule will only apply to companies with 20 or more employees, state and local government employers, employment agencies, and labor organizations. According to the EEOC this final rule will balance the rights of older workers with the business interests of employers. To show how prevalent age discrimination is in this county, the number of age discrimination charges filed with the EEIC increased by 50% since 2000.

March 12, 2012

Age Discrimination Lawsuits In Chicago On The Rise

In Chicago there have been a number of age discrimination lawsuits which suggests this type of discrimination is on the rise. It is illegal to treat employees over 40 different from those under 40. Many times employers are either looking to cut costs or get more work out of younger workers. What I mean by more work, is a younger worker may be eager to satisfy management and work off the clock to help impress. This type of activity may make the company more money but is illegal on several levels.

If you are the victim of age discrimination in Chicago you can file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") and it will be automatically cross-filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). This type of employment discrimination is harder to prove and usually requires examing the records of the company. As most employers are not stupid enough to fire you and say they are because of your age, it is helpful to have an experience employment lawyer working for you. In Chicago don't let employers discriminate against you based on your age.

February 6, 2012

DXP Enterprises Pays $120,000 To Settle EEOC Lawsuit

DXP Enterprises, Inc will pay $120,000 to settle an Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") and age discrimination lawsuit. The multiple count lawsuit was first filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Connie Brooks. According to published accounts DXP hired Brooks and then fired her a few days later after learning she had a prior back injury. When you engage in that type of behavior it is a violation of the law and will result in a lawsuit. If you are over 40 and are treated different than younger workers you can also file an age discrimination lawsuit--which is what happened here.

I really can't imagine company managers acting this way in light of current employment laws. It never ceases to amaze me how stupid companies can be. There are so many good workers out there and have prior injuries. I am glad the EEOC was able to secure a good settlement for Ms. Brooks and hopefully the company will learn a valuabe lesson about how to treat people. These employment laws are on the books for reason.

“We are pleased with this employer’s willingness to provide a prompt resolution to Ms. Brooks, as well as the company’s commitment to provide anti-discrimination training.” said EEOC Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill
January 29, 2012

Winning Your Age Discrimination Lawsuit At The Illinois Human Rights Commission

So you filed your age discrimination lawsuit with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") and received your notice of substantial evidence. Now what are you suppose to do? Well you can proceed on your own and file a complaint with the Illinois Human Rights Commission ("IHRC") for trial. Remember there won't be a jury trial but rather a trial in front of an administrative law judge. The good news about proceeding with the IHRC is the cost is free. Also there is a limited version of discovery that usually doesn't involve depositions--which can get expensive.

Age discrimination cases are usually won by the numbers. What I mean by that is usually someone isn't going to put derogatory statements about someones age in writing. You will generally have to prove the case by showing statistically younger workers are being given favorable treatment over older workers. The age cut-off is age 40. It is very important that you know how to proceed at the IHRC and can properly draft discovery and properly answer the discovery that the company will send to you. For this reason you should consult with an experienced and aggressive employment law attorney.

January 3, 2012

Age Discrimination And The Illinois Human Rights Commission

The Illinois Human Rights Commission ("IHRC") is one of the agencies in Illinois that hears cases involving age discrimination and other forms of discrimination. In order to get a case in front of the IHRC you must first file a complaint alleging discrimination with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR"). The IDHR will conduct an investigation and upon finding substantial evidence will send you the proper documents allowing you to file your complaint with the IHRC. It is very important to understand what takes place at both agencies so you can maximize your chances of success. Remember that one wrong step and your case could end.

So once your age discrimination case makes it to the IHRC what then? Well the good news is you are probably going to end up with a trial in front of an administrative law judge. Unless you have a baseless case this will happen. And the chances of your case being baseless at this point are not great because the case would not have made it from the IDHR. At trial you can ask for your job back which puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the company to settle. You can imagine how uncomfortable a company would be if they are ordered to take an employee back after they fired the employee. You can also ask for attorney fees, lost wages and benefits and money for emotional distress as well as any medical bills you may have incurred, including money for a therapist. Make sure you are prepared for your trial at the IHRC and maximize your chances of success.

December 3, 2011

Age Discrimination In The Recession

Unemployment ranges between eight and nine percent in Chicago. As the fight for jobs increases many people over the age of 40 find themselves under more scrutiny. In Illinois it is a violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act ("IHRA") to discriminate against someone because of their age. Under the IHRA the age is 40. Another words, if you are 40 or over you can file a charge of age discrimination with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") if you believe you are being treated different than younger workers. Many times a review of all the employee files including education, experience and pay can be utilized to prove age discrimination.

Age discrimination in the workplace can also create a hostile work environment for all employees because of the message it sends. If an person is able to show substantial evidence with the IDHR, he can then file a complaint with the Illinois Human Rights Commission ("IHRC") for a trial in front of an administrative law judge. Remember that people over 40 are starting to near the end of their work career so any negative job action against them can really ruin their career.

November 8, 2011

Age Discrimination And Being Replaced By Technology

My offices gets calls from time to time on interesting topics. A recent call set out a series of research querrys involving other states and here is what the question was and what I found. Can an employee over 40 be replaced with technology and if so is that a form of age discrimination under the law? Or course if it is age discrimination the employee could file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") or the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR").

I did some research and found a case from the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. It is Cortemoller v. Int'l Furniture Mktg., Inc. In that case Mr. Cortemoller was replaced with some technology that did his job as a communicator. He sued under the age discrimination laws and the district court granted summary judgment to his employer. He appealed and the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the lower courts ruling. In short, the court held that technology does not amount to a younger employee. This case is very interesting and I am sure we will see similar challenges in other states and thus other circuits. In the future I could see a similar claim brought by other protected classes of people under for example sexual orientation.

August 30, 2011

Hostile Work Environment Can't Be Based On General Harassment In Illinois

In the State of Illinois there is no such thing as general harassment. The legislature tried unsuccessfully to pass a bullying in the workplace law but it was defeated. What that means is if your boss is just a general jerk and yells and screams there isn't much you can do other than quit. Unless the hostile work environment is created because of sexual harassment, age discrimination or other forms of recognized discrimination you can't file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") or the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR"). If the hostile work environment is being created based on a discriminatory category you can file directly with either the IDHR or EEOC--although I recommend hiring an employment lawyer on contingency to file on your behalf and to protect your rights.

My Chicago offices gets many calls from employee who are the victims of general harassment and unfortunately there isn't much I can do. However it is always a good idea to call my office or the office of an employment attorney to discuss because sometimes even though the boss is being a jerk and it seems like a general harassment case, he may only be yelling at you because you are the only female or only gay employee in which instance you may have a case.

August 23, 2011

3M Pays $3 Million To Settle Age Discrimination Lawsuit

3M pays $3 million to a class of former employees to settle a nationwide age discrimination lawsuit, The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), on behalf of hundreds of employees over the age of 45 during a series of reductions in force from July 1, 2003 through Dec. 31, 2006. As is typical with big companies 3M laid off many highly paid older employees to save money. Employees give the most productive years of their lives to big companies and then they get the ax. This is a horrible way to treat workers. Treating a worker different based on age violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("AEDA") and will result in a claim of age discrimination.

The lawsuit also alleged that older employees were denied leadership training and laid off to make way for younger leaders. During discovery in the lawsuit the EEOC uncovered an employee e-mail describing then-CEO Jim McNerney’s “vision for leadership development” as “we should be developing 30 year olds with General Manager potential” and “He wants us to tap into the youth as participants in the leadership development.” These were all code words for get rid of the old workers and hire new younger ones. Well the EEOC did not give up and held the companies feet to the fire. A settlement this large should send a signal to other would be discriminating companies.

“The law requires employers to base employment decisions upon each person’s strengths and talents instead of relying upon generalized assumptions calculated around an employee’s age,” said EEOC attorney Michael Baldonado.

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July 20, 2011

Cavalier Telephone Settles Age Discrimination Lawsuit For $1 Million

Cavalier Telephone Company Inc. pays $1 million to settle an age discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of two individuals who complained the company was not hiring people because they were over 40 years of age. Age discrimination violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 ("ADEA"). Persons age 40 or older are protected from employment discrimination by the act.

According to published accounts for over seven years, Cavalier Telephone’s mid-Atlantic region had a practice of not hiring applicants age 40 or older for sales account executive positions. In a very troubling practice Cavalier offered its employees a $500 bonus for referral of a “friend’s younger brother and sister.”

“Cavalier Telephone’s hiring practices penalized older applicants simply because of their age and that is illegal,” said EEOC General Counsel P. David Lopez. “I am pleased that we were able to work out a resolution of this suit that provides relief for the victims of discrimination and brings the company’s practices into compliance with the law.”

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May 16, 2011

Dillard's Pays $50,000 To Settle Age Discrimination Lawsuit

Dillard’s, Inc. pays $50,000 to settle an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of 61 year old manager Virginia Keene. According to published reports about the lawsuit, Keene was fired from her position as an area sales manager and replaced with a 24-year-old employee who only had four months of experience as an area sales manager. This is unusual and would indicate that age is playing a factor in the employment decision. Keene successfully worked as an area sales manager for over four years and right before she was fired had ranked second out of six area sales managers.

To make matters worse for the company Keene received positive reviews in her two most recent performance appraisals and had twice been recommended for promotion. When you hear this kind of evidence it makes it obvious that the company was engaging in age discrimination. Throughout the course of her employment with Dillard’s, Keene’s managers made repeated references to her age, telling her she was too old for a sales job and that it might be time for her to let the younger managers take over. I am glad Keene hung in there and made the company pay her for the discrimination. This type of activity also creates a hostile work environment for all employees.

“Older workers have experience and skills that are too often overlooked,” said EEOC attorney Lynette A. Barnes
April 9, 2011

Age Discrimination Lawsuit Settles For $467,165

The Minnesota Department of Human Services ("MDHS") pays $467,165 to settle an age discrimination lawsuit which was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of 29 workers. According to published accounts the 29 workers were denied employer contributions for retiree health and dental insurance because they were older than age 55 at the time that they retired. Once a person reaches the age of 40 they become a member of a protect class due to age.

If older workers are treated in a different manner, it may become age discrimination, like it did in this case. You can see how expensive this type of behavior is for a company or in this case state agency. Like the state didn't have anything better to do with taxpayer dollars. In the future I am sure a new plan will be formulated that is not discriminatory in nature.

“The EEOC litigated and won on the issue of the illegality of this incentive plan.” said EEOC attorneyJohn Hendrickson.

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April 2, 2011

College Settles Retaliation Lawsuit For $20,000

Arkansas Baptist College ("ABC") pays $20,000 to settle a retaliation lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Mary Jarrett. According to details which have become public, Jarrett was retaliated against because she previously filed a discrimination claim against the college and the college canceled her contract based on the former complaint. Her previous discrimination complaint involved age discrimination and gender discrimination among others.

My chicago office is seeing an increase in the number of college and university related claims of discrimination. I don't know if it is the arrogance of college administrators or the fact that the job market is so tight right now that people think they can engage in discrimination against workers. I am glad to see Mary Jarrett stick to her guns and not let the college push her around. There are protections available to people who file discrimination charges and hopefully the college learned a lesson on how to treat employees.

“It is plainly illegal to fire an employee for engaging in her statutorily protected right of filing a charge with the EEOC, and we are pleased that the parties were able to resolve this matter.” said EEOC attorney Faye A. Williams

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March 30, 2011

Tandy Brands Pays $95,000 To Settle Age Discrimination Lawsuit

Tandy Brands ("Tandy") pay $95,000 to settle an age discrimination lawsuit filed in federal court by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Merta Withrow. According to published reports regarding the case, Tandy violated federal law by terminating Merta Withrow, a 62-year-old manager, because of her age. The company claimed the termination was part of a reduction-in-force but the company kept a lesser qualified and substantially younger manager.

However, during the discovery phase of the lawsuit the EEOC determined that within four months Tandy terminated another five supervisors, whose ages ranged from 75 to 58. If you are over the age of 40 you are protected by federal law regarding discrimination based on your age. The theory the EEOC alleged was that Tandy wanted a younger image and that is why they began to terminate older workers. This settlement should signal to Tandy that they can't behave this way.

EEOC Attorney Jim Sacher said “Making employment decisions based on one’s age is unlawful, and there is no excuse for such a practice in the 21 st century.”
March 19, 2011

Brentwood Fire District Settles Age Discrimination Lawsuit For $465,600

The Brentwood, Long Island Fire District pays $465,600 to settle an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a class of firefighters. According to published accounts between 1990 and 2004, the District prohibited volunteer firefighters over age 62 from accruing credit toward a length of service award because of their age.

The end result was that the senior firefighters kept working but did not receive credit for their service once they reaced 62. The lawsuit claims the age restriction violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"). You can see how much money this bad policy costs the taxpayers and hopefully the government will get it right next time. You cannot be discriminated against because of your age and the government can't make two policies, one for older workers and one for younger workers.

"The fire department's system penalized older firefighters who continued to actively perform their duties and that was a violation of federal law," said EEOC attorney Adela Santos.
March 7, 2011

Television Station Settles Age and Gender Discrimination Lawsuit For $45,000

KOKH-TV in Oklahoma City will pay $45,000 to settle a racial discrimination and gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Phyllis Williams. According to published accounts, Williams, a veteran African-American anchor was paid lower wages than comparable white female reporters and male reporters of all races. Williams was also subjected to unequal terms and conditions of employment.

Usually it is difficult to prove racial discrimination because people don't just come out and make racial comments. Instead, you need evidence that shows an unequal treatment and pay difference that can only be explained by a difference in race or gender. I am glad Ms. Williams hung in there and fought for her rights.

“This decree will remind KOKH Channel 25, Sinclair and all news organizations to treat their employees equally as required by law, including women and people of color, who traditionally have been the victims of job discrimination,” said Barbara Seely, regional attorney of the EEOC’s St. Louis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Oklahoma. “The notice posting and training required by the consent decree will go far in educating the station’s managers on their employees’ right to work in an environment free of race and sex discrimination.”

January 21, 2011

Truck Plaza Settles Age Discrimination Lawsuit For $11,500

Timeless Investments, Inc., doing business as EZ Trip Golden State Convenience and Auto/Truck Plaza )"Plaza" settled an age discrimination lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") for $11,500. The lawsuit was filed because the Plaza failed to hire older workers who were qualified for the positions they applied for.

According to the EEOC, the older applicants were separately instructed to write their ages on the top corner of their respective employment applications and then denied employment based on their age. This conduct is a violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 ("ADEA"). The company acted in such a fashion as to not even hide their discriminatory conduct. I am glad the EEOC was able to hold the company accountable and stop future discrimination from taking place.

“Age stereotyping continues to remain a problem, and we hope employers proactively ensure that impediments are removed to allow older workers to apply for jobs equally.” said EEOC attorney Anna Park.

January 14, 2011

Cover Girls Settles Age Discrimination Lawsuit For $60,000

Cover Girls, a company engaged in adult business settles an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of waitress Mary Bassi. Published documents in the lawsuit indicated the EEOC alleged Cover Girls violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA") by harassing and ultimately firing a waitress because of her age. For its part Cover Girls’ management began hiring younger female waitresses and scheduling them for shifts in place of Bassi, despite the fact that she was performing her duties well and had received no recent disciplinary actions.

Allegedly two male managers at Cover Girls, both in their 30s, began harassing and discriminating against Mary Bassi, who was in her 50s, because of her age. The ADEA protects workers who are over the age of forty. The lawsuit goes on to claim that these managers referred to Bassi as old and made other negative comments about her age, including telling her she was exhibiting signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Bassi worked for the company for 13 years prior to being fired. This case could also have been filed based on gender discrimination because Bassi was being singled out because of her gender as well.

“Age discrimination cannot and will not be tolerated in any business or industry no matter what sector they occupy,” said EEOC attorney James Sacher.
January 8, 2011

Terry Pearson Settles Age Discrimination Lawsuit For $91,000

The City of Greensboro will pay $91,000 to Terry Pearson to settle an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on his behalf. According to published documents in the case the city failed to hire then 58-year-old Pearson and instead hired three younger candidates. The job was an electronic processes specialist within the city’s 911 Division. The job involved maintenance of the city’s radio communication systems for first responders. Pearson previously owned an electronics repair shop and had other substantial experience in electronics repair and maintenance through various technician jobs. Remarkebly, the city selected three substantially younger applicants, all under age 40, who were not as qualified as Pearson.

The lawsuit was filed under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA") after the city failed to hire Pearson. Additionally several individuals in the case testified that Pearson was rejected because of his age, and specifically, that the hiring manager was concerned Pearson might retire soon after being hired. There was another twist in this case as well. There was an additional claim against the city for failure to preserve records related to hiring for the position. Federal law requires all employers to keep documents related to personnel decisions for at least one year.

This type of behavior exhibited by management can also lead to a hostile work environment for other workers because of the signal it sends to them. When a work force believes management does not want to hire older workers, it must make them wonder what will happen to them once they turn 40.

December 23, 2010

CasaBlanca Casino Pays $60,000 To Settle Age Discrimination Lawsuit

CasaBlanca Casino settled an age discrimination lawsuit which was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of two sales manager who were over the age of 40. According to documents this office obtained, the two sales managers working at the CasaBlanca Resort & Casino, ages 67 and 55 were informed that their positions were being eliminated.

The problem with that story was the two older sales managers were subsequently replaced by two younger new hires within approximately two months of eliminating their positions. Because they were replaced within a short period of time they were discriminated against due to their age, a direct violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"). This type of behavior is not only illegal but it creates a hostile work environment for other employees.

“Notwithstanding, employers should be proactive in reviewing their own procedures and training staff accordingly so that older workers are not treated differently simply because of their age.” said EEOC attorney Anna Park
November 21, 2010

EEOC Says Age Discrimination On the Rise

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") heard testimony that age discrimination is causing the nation’s older workers to have a difficult time maintaining and finding new employment, a problem exacerbated by the downturn in the economy. According to published numbers from the EEOC the number and percentage of age discrimination charges filed with the EEOC have grown, rising from 21.8 percent of all charges filed in 2006, to 24.4 percent in fiscal year 2009.

Another alarming statistic is that the rate of unemployment for people age 55 and over rose from a pre-recession low of 3.0 percent (November 2007) to reach 7.3 percent in August, 2010, making the past 22 months the longest spell of high unemployment workers in this age group have experienced in 60 years.

November 18, 2010

Railroad Settles Age Discrimination Lawsuit For $95,000

Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Company ("BNSF") pays $95,000 to settle an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of two made ages 55 and 43. According to the lawsuit Jimmy Rider and Randy Aultman were not hired because of their age. Anyone who is over 40 is a member of a protected class and afforded protections based on age.

Because of the economy many employers are seeking out younger workers and cutting corners when it comes to following the law. Age Discrimination is real and seems to be on the rise as the country has a worker aged work force. It is very important to protect your rights and contact an attorney if you believe you are subject to discrimination.

“It is vitally important, especially given the current economic climate, to protect members of our work force from discrimination based on characteristics that have no correlation with job performance, such as age,” said EEOC Attorney Barbara Seely.
October 19, 2010

Planet Ford Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $160,000

Planet Ford pays $160,000 to settle a sexual harassment, age discrimination and racial discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). Published accounts claims that one employee was subjected to race discrimination by his supervisor and was retaliated against for complaining about the supervisor’s discriminatory conduct. Another employee was subjected to sexual harassment by the supervisor. The sexual harassment included comments of a sexual nature and taunts by the supervisor that the original complainant, who is heterosexual, was engaging in homosexual activities.

The supervisor also repeatedly berated the employee for being too old for the job and washed up in the industry. The supervisor repeatedly sabotaged the employees work efforts. Both employees complained to management but nothing was done by Planet Ford to put a stop to the conduct. In the end one employee transferred and one quit. This is considered retaliation by Planet Ford because they did nothing to stop the discrimination and forced the complaining employees into other positions as a result of their complaints.

“This settlement demonstrates that harsh treatment against workers because of their age and/or race, whether they are white or members of other races, will be aggressively opposed by the EEOC,” said EEOC Attorney Jim Sacher.

September 14, 2010

Television Station Settles Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

A gender discrimination and age discrimination lawsuit against television station KMBC has been settled. The lawsuit was filed by Kelly Eckerman, Peggy Breit and Maria Albisu-Twyman alleging a pattern of discrimination and harassment of veteran female reporters. According to documents filed in the lawsuit the station’s atmosphere has transformed over time, from one of cooperation into a hostile work environment, permeated with threats, intimidation and disrespect.

The lawsuit paints a pretty nasty picture for the work environment at KMBC. Another claim in the lawsuit was that even unaffected newsroom employees have commented about the publicly humiliating and degrading treatment of women over 40. Sounds like KMBC has a lot of work to do internally. It is unusual for a high profile television show to have these sorts of employment issues. The three woman in this case stood up for their rights and didn't back down to the big corporation. The details of the settlement are unknown but the woman continue to work at the station.

A statement issued by KMBC described the resolution as “amicable” and said that it had come “after some open and frank conversation” between the women and station management.
September 10, 2010

School Sued For Age Discrimination

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") filed an age discrimination lawsuit against Thomasville City Schools. According to the lawsuit Thomasville failed to hire Arlene Lent for two assistant principal positions because of her age in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). If a worker is over 40 years of age, the ADEA kicks in.

The lawsuit alleges Thomasville Schools selected two younger, less qualified candidates for assistant principal positions over Lent because of her age, 54. Lent met all of the minimum qualifications for the positions while neither of the younger candidates who were selected met the qualifications. As an example, neither of the selectees who were 39 and 35 years of age, respectively, held a principal’s license. Employers often leave a paper trail in age discrimination cases and in this csae the qualifications of Lent and the other two candidates was the paper trail.

“Too often, age bias is the determining factor in hiring decisions and older applicants are simply written off and not given a fair chance to compete,” said Lynette A. Barnes, attorney for the EEOC. “Employers cannot refuse to hire qualified older workers because of their age; it is illegal as well as unfair and counterproductive.”
July 28, 2010

Area Temps Pays $650,000 To Settle Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

Area Temps will pay $650,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The discrimination lawsuit is based on age discrimination, gender discrimination, racial discrimination and national origin discrimination. It is rare to find a lawsuit that is sucessful and allegeding all four categories.

According to published accounts of the lawsuit Area Temps unlawfully complied with discriminatory requests made by its clients based on race, sex, national origin and age, and unlawfully fired two of its employees in retaliation for their opposition to Area Temps’ discriminatory practices. The company also fired one employee for participation in the EEOC’s investigation. The company that made the request of Area Temp for the discriminatory practices should also be held accountable.

“The EEOC is pleased that Area Temps joined with the agency to negotiate a fair settlement resolving this matter,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence.
July 24, 2010

Ashland Settles Age Discrimination Lawsuit For $38,000

Ashland, Inc. pays $38,000 to settle an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The lawsuit was filed after the EEOC attempted to settle the lawsuit with the company. According to published reports, Michael Roach, who worked as a manager for Ashland, was subjected to
discrimination based on his age. The discrimination comprised of comments about his age and continued when Roach complained about the comments and nothing was done.

Ashland fired Roach because of his age in October 2006 and the EEOC filed the lawsuit shortly after that. You can see how long a lawsuit takes before it finally gets settled. This is a good reason to always try to explore settlement early.


“Age-based harassment, just like other forms of discriminatory workplace harassment, is against the law and should not be tolerated by employers,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence. “Older workers should be valued for their experience, not viewed as a liability.”

July 18, 2010

Sears Settles Age Discrimination Lawsuit For $30,000

Sears will pay $30,000 to settle an age discrimination lawsuit. The discrimination lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a 61-year old applicant who was turned down for employment. According to the lawsuit, Sears refused to hire the man into an entry-level loss prevention/asset protection position despite his qualifications and 27 years of investigative experience. This type of conduct is illegal and violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA").

This type of case is a good example of how large corporations don't believe they are accountable. This man had a ton of experience and was well qualified yet the company decided to not hire him and instead hired a less experienced and less qualified individual. Hopefully after paying this settlement and getting the unwanted attention, Sears will act different in the future.

“We are pleased that Sears worked cooperatively with the EEOC in bringing a resolution to this case,” said EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney Judith G. Taylor of the EEOC.
July 15, 2010

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against City Administrator Settled For $600,000

Carmel City will pay $600,000 to settle a sexual harassment and age discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed against the city because allegedly the city's top administrator Rich Guillen sexually harassed Jane Kingsley Miller, the city's human resource manager. After Miller rejected the sexual advances she claims Guillen engaged in retaliation. Miller alleged in her lawsuit that the office was a buzz with sexual activity and two women who had sex with Guillen were rewarded while her position was eliminated after she refused to have sex with Guillen.

In the lawsuit Miller alleged that what was going on in the office was common knowledge around City Hall and nothing was done to stop it. Miller was 63 years old and anyone over the age of 40 may allege age discrimination if they have facts to support it. Cases like this show how public entities throw tax payer money around like there is a printing machine in the back room. I don't know what Miller was making per year in salary but the smarter thing to do would have been to buy her position out and retire her once she came forward with complaints. Also, if the city had investigated this properly, and put a stop to it, perhaps they could have saved a great deal of money. By paying this amount of money, the city realized it had a losing case, the typical language about paying to end litigation but not acknowledging liability is laughable when you pay over half a million dollars.

"By resolving this matter and avoiding months of litigation and expense we can look forward to redirecting more energy and resources to the many challenges facing the city in these uncertain economic times," the city's press release said.
June 28, 2010

College Settles Retaliation and Age Discrimination Lawsuit For $50,000

The Community College of Baltimore County pays $50,000 to settle an age discrimination and retaliation lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Sheri Chosak. Chosak was a 60-year old employee who was trying to get hired as a part-time English as a Second Language (ESOL) academic advisor but claims she was denied the job because of her age. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA") prohibits employers from refusing to hire or promote individuals who are 40 or older because of age.

This type of case illustrates why employees have to work hard to protect their rights and if they believe they are the victim of discrimination, they must fight. It seems in this tough economy many employers are taking the attitude that they can do anything regarding employment decisions and not be held accountable. Good for this woman and her ability to stand her ground and fight for her rights.

“Employers who refuse to hire qualified applicants based on age not only forgo the opportunity to hire talented workers, they also risk having to defend themselves against an EEOC lawsuit,” said EEOC Attorney Debra Lawrence
June 21, 2010

EEOC Settles Age Discrimination Lawsuit For $724,000

The Minnesota Department of Corrections ("MDOC") will pay $724,000 to settle an age discrimination lawsuit which was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of 35 retirees of the MDOC. The EEOC alleged the MDOC violated federal law over an early retirement plan scheme that entitled employees retiring at age 55 to employer contributions for health and dental insurance until they were 65 but offered no such contributions to those who retired after age 55.

It still blows my mind that companies and organizations are not able to read and comprehend the fedearl discrimination laws. You have to wonder what types of people are put in positions of authority where they make such foolish decisions. This lawsuit is going to cost the taxpayers over a million dollars when the legal fees and time spent are taken into consideration. The EEOC is very vigilent in protecting the rights of individuals from discrimination.


June 20, 2010

MRS Systems Settles Age Discrimination Lawsuit For $130,000

MRA Systems Inc., a subsidiary of General Electric pays $130,000 to settle an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of 61 year old Louis Behrendt. According to the lawsuit MRA Systems gave Behrendt a lower performance rating, despite his successful job performance, because of his age. Additionally, the company failed to assign Behrendt to a position as a Production Control Leader 5 and instead awarded the position, which had greater salary potential, to a younger, less-qualified employee.

This type of behavior is against the law and usually can be proven with performance evaluations and other documents in personal files. In addition to not promoting him the company subjected him to unfair and heightened job scrutiny, gave him poor performance ratings and refused to promote him based on his age and in retaliation for his internal complaints about discrimination. Many times retaliation complaints are also filed with charges of discrimination.

"Age-based stereotypes about the abilities of older workers can result in older employees receiving lower performance ratings, lower compensation, and fewer promotional opportunities than younger co-workers," said EEOC Attorney Debra Lawrence

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June 14, 2010

Age Discrimination Lawsuit Settled For $250,000

TIN, Inc., settles age discrimination lawsuit for $250,000. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employ­ment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of three employees over the age of 40. According to details in the lawsuit, the company took employment actions in favor of younger workers and adverse to the three workers who were over 40. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 ("ADEA") protects people 40 years of age or older from employment discrimin­ation based on age and from retaliation for complaining about it.

This type of behavior against older workers is not tolerated and will result in a discrimination lawsuit. Most of the workforce is over 40-years of age and usually older workers make more money because they have more experience. Some business owners believe they can cut costs by firing the older workers and replacing them with younger, less expensive workers. Employers beware if this is your strategy.

“Workers over 40 often possess extensive job experience and skills, yet are still vulnerable to discrimination,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill. “Employers must look beyond age when making life-changing decisions for employees such as hiring and firing.”
June 11, 2010

Spencer Reed Group Settles Retaliation Lawsuit For $125,000

Spencer Reed Group will pay $125,000 to settle a racial discrimination, age discrimination and retaliation lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a 55-year-old white employee. According to the lawsuit Spencer Reed violated federal law by discriminating against 55-year-old Caucasian employee because of her race and age and fired her as retaliation for her complaining about it. She was treated different than the younger African Americans.

The white woman worked as a senior functional analyst for Spencer Reed Group since 2003, was treated differently in many ways because of her age and race. She was subjected to adverse employment actions such as unduly harsh discipline, denied training, given the heaviest and most difficult workload and forced to provide work reports on a weekly instead of monthly basis.

One of the woman’s co-workers, a lead financial management analyst, said she felt that the treatment indicated “prejudice.” Finally the employee complained about the disparate treatment, but she was fired as retaliation the next day, the EEOC charged.

June 3, 2010

MRA Systems Settles Age Discrimination Lawsuit For $130,000

MRA Systems, Inc., a subsidiary of General Electric, writes a check for $130,000 to settle an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of 61-year-old Louis Behrendt. According to the lawsuit MRA Systems gave Behrendt a lower performance rating, despite his successful job performance, because of his age. The lawsuit also claims the company failed to assign Behrendt to a position as a Production Control Leader 5 and instead awarded the position, which had greater salary potential, to a younger, less qualified employee.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA") prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals who are 40 or older when making employment decisions, such as promotions, job assignments and performance ratings. In a case like this, employment records and credentials may be utilized to show the qualifications and past performance of employees in an effort to prove age discrimination.

“Age-based stereotypes about the abilities of older workers can result in older employees receiving lower performance ratings, lower compensation and fewer promotional opportunities than younger co-workers,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence
May 30, 2010

Orkin Pest Control Getting Rid Of More Than Pests: Sued By EEOC For Discrimination

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") filed a religious discrimination lawsuit on behalf of a Thomas Kokezas claiming he was discriminated against because he wasn't a certain religion and because of his age. Additionally the EEOC said Orkin engaged in retaliation against an applicant who complained to the company’s corporate headquarters about the alleged discrimination.

The age discrimination lawsuit claims Orkin discriminated during the hiring process against Thomas Kokezas, as well as a class of individuals based on their age, over 40, or religion, non-Mormon. The lawsuit alleges Orkin advertised on Craig’s List for a recruiter to assist in hiring LDS missionaries for seasonal employ­ment and stating that the summer position was great for returned missionaries, who tend to be in their 20s. Under the law such advertising is illegal because it shows a preference for a particular religion, and also a preference for younger workers.

“Employers must be vigilant in providing equal employment opportunities for all applicants regardless of their age or religion,” said EEOC Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill.
May 25, 2010

City of Boone Sued For Age Discrimination By EEOC

The City of Boone, Iowa is being accused of violating federal law by hiring a 25-year-old rather than a more qualified 62-year-old because of his age prompting the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") to file an age discrimination lawsuit. According to court documents, U.S. Navy veteran, Larry Cook was turned down for the new position of municipal infractions officer despite his extensive construction, electronic, communications and management experience. Instead, the city chose the youngest candidate, a 25-year-old with little relevant experience.

The EEOC is seeking back pay and liquidated damages for Cook as well as an order barring future discrimination. I believe the city was foolish for first engaging in age discrimination but also by not settling this case early in the process. Over 95% of all lawsuits settle before trial and in this case it seems a quick resolution to this lawsuit would have saved the taxpayers more money.

“Older workers, who have given so much to our American economy, don’t lose the right to earn a living because of their age,” said EEOC Chicago District Director John Rowe
May 4, 2010

Poplar Springs Nursing Center Pays $40,000 To Settle Age Discrimination and Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

Poplar Springs Nursing Center pays $40,000 to settle an age discrimination and racial discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC")According to the lawsuit, Poplar Springs discriminated against Gloria Carey, a 53-year-old black female, by denying her a social worker position because of her age and her race.

The amazing fact was Carey’s 27-plus years of experience as a social worker. Even with tis amount of time Poplar Springs refused to consider her for the position. Instead a less qualified 34-year-old white female was the only candidate interviewed and then hired. This shows that even though you don't have a document saying I won't hire you because of your race or age, circumstances can be utilized to prove your case.

April 20, 2010

University Pays $450,000 To Settle Age Discrimination and Retaliation Lawsuit

The University of Louisiana ("ULM"), will pay $450,000 to settle an age discrimination and retaliation lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Oppor­tunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of former professor and dean of the College of Business Administration, Dr. Van McGraw. According to the lawsuit McGraw alleges the university rejected him for employ­ment repeatedly because of his age, and because he had filed an earlier age discrimination lawsuit against the university.

The lawsuit alleges the University violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"). McGraw had previously worked for the university for 37 years and retired in1989 as dean of the College of Business Administration. After retiring he was imme­diately rehired as a professor in the Department of Manage­ment and Marketing. ULM terminated McGraw in 1996 under a then-new board policy regarding the reemployment of retirees.


March 26, 2010

Kmart Settles Age Discrimination Lawsuit For $120,000

Kmart Corporation pays $120,000 to settle an age discrimination, constructive discharge and retaliation lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a 70-year-old pharmacist. According to details in the lawsuit, Kmart thought the pharmacist was too old and should retire. Kmart also said the pharmacist was greedy for wishing to work once she reached 70 years of age.

Kmart scheduled the pharmacist to work on Sunday even though they were aware she attended church and would not be able to work that day. This is a prime example of how coompanies try to set workers up for failure by asking them to do something they know they can't do in an attempt to come up with a reason to fire the worker. Kmart also threatened legal action against the pharmacist using a pretext on an unrelated matter to retaliate against her for her discrimination complaint. The pharmacist was forced to quit her position because of the harassment and this is referred to as constructive discharge.

“Instead of addressing this pharmacist’s legitimate complaints of age discrimination, Kmart made a bad situation worse by threatening her for complaining,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru.

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February 10, 2010

Age Discrimination Lawsuit Settled With Horshal For $175,000

Frank Fesnak settles his age discrimination lawsuit with Horshal for $175,000. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to details provided in the lawsuit Fesnak performed his duties as vice president of strategic alliances without incident but was fired because he was 47. It is alleged that after Fesnak was assigned to report to a different supervisor, the new supervisor made derogatory comments regarding older workers. Frank worked for a company called Astea, which is a professional consulting services group. Once Astea heard about the new supervisors comments it abruptly terminated Fesnak and hired someone 15 years younger to replace him.

This is typical with outsourced companies. They will do anything to keep their client happy so they can continue to do business. They apparently will even engage in discriminatory conduct if it helps their bottom line. In this case the main company Horshal engaged in discrimination by having a senior employee make the age discrimination comments whereby the outsourced company felt compelled to hire younger workers.

“We are pleased that Astea worked with us so that we could file both the complaint and the consent decree resolving the lawsuit on the same day without the parties engaging in costly litigation,” said Acting Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence
January 26, 2010

Age Discrimination Lawsuit Settled For $237,072

The Mineola Fire Department will pay $237,072 to settle a class action age discrimination lawsuit which was filed on behalf of 25 firefighters by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to the allegations in the lawsuit the fire district refused to let volunteer firefighters over age 60 accrue credit toward a retirement pension, because of their age. The direct result was after a firefigher turned 60 they lost pension increases which is a violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA").

Because of the downturn in the economy many businesses and government agencies are looking for ways to cut costs. Discriminating against an entire class of people is not the way to balance the budget. This case should act as a shot across the bow of government that treating people over 40 differently than other employees will not be tolerated and will cost them money in the long run. In this case the 25 firefighters will get increases to their monthly retirement checks and some will get cash settlements.

“This fire department’s system in effect penalized older firefighters because of their age, and that was simply illegal,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru.
January 9, 2010

Auto Company Pays $1.505 Million to Settle Sexual Harassment, Gender and Age Discrimination Lawsuit With The EEOC

Arapahoe Motors, Inc. which does business as Ralph Schomp motors will pay $1.505 million to settle an age discrimination, sexual harassment and gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), on behalf of five women and five men. The women claim they were subjected to sexual harassment, gender discrimination and a hostile work environment while employed. Some of the conduct alleged in the lawsuit include offensive comments and physical touching. As a result of reporting this conduct and of refusing to participate in this type of behavior the women claim they were demoted and had their salaries reduced. Some claim they were not promoted because of gender discrimination.

On the age discrimination claim the EEOC claims five male employees over age 40 were terminated because of their ages and replaced with younger, less experienced workers. The lawsuit also claims that a manger under the age of 30 made age-related comments about the older workers before they were fired and in a move that makes no business sense, employees younger than 40 with lower sales numbers were retained.

“Sexual harassment and sex discrimination against women in traditionally male-dominated industries, such as the auto industry, are still unfortunate realities,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru."

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December 24, 2009

Allstate Pays $4.5 Million To Settle Age Discrimination Lawsuit

Allstate Insurance company settled an age discrimination lawsuit the the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ('EEOC") for $4,500,000. The lawsuit was filed by the EEOC on behalf of 90 claimants. The EEOC alleged that Allstate violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"). Allstate which is based in Illinois is said to have treated a class of older workers negatively during a companywide reorganization. In particular Allstate adopted a plan called Preparing For The Future Reorganization Program. The program was part of Allstate’s reorganization from employee agents to what the company considered independent contractors. That program had a disproportionate impact on employees over the age of 40 because more than 90 percent of the agents subjected to the hiring moratorium were 40 years of age or older.

Of course Allstate denied that its hiring moratorium violated the ADEA, however the $4.5 million dollar settlement says different. Companies cannot institute policies that disproportionately affect older workers. There are many reasons why companies would like to get rid of older workers, namely they can pay younger workers less money, and younger workers are less likely to have large medical bills. Also, younger workers are less likely to challenge the policies of a company.

“We at the EEOC are now bringing more and more lawsuits like this one to challenge company-wide policies or practices which discriminate against a large number of workers,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “Make no mistake: As this settlement shows, we will insist on significant compensation and meaningful injunctive relief to resolve these cases.”

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December 3, 2009

Animal Control Officer Settles Age Discrimination Lawsuit For $64,000

Pat Gansen the 57 year-old Mason City animal control officer settled her age discrimination lawsuit against the city for $64,000. The lawsuit alleged the city allowed discrimination based on gender and age. Gansen also accused the city managers of retaliation when she complained about discrimination when they didn't promote her.

Age and gender discrimination are illegal and a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. As part of the settlement both parties agreed there is not an admission of liability on the part of the city. Even though the city asked for this language in the agreement as do most defendants, the fact that they paid $64,000 speaks for itself. As the job market gets tighter and more employees are getting squeezed by their employers, many different types of discrimination are coming to the surface. It is important to discuss employment issues with an attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights.

November 14, 2009

Massey Energy Pays $8.75 Million To Settle Age Discrimination Lawsuit

Massey Energy and its subsidiary Spartan Mining Company settled a lawsuit alleging age discrimination for $8.75 million. The lawsuit was a class action led by five minors who alleged that Massey failed to hire workers over 40 years old in violation of the West Virginia Human Rights Act. In all the lawsuit involved more than 200 job applicants. Under the terms of the settlement, 82 miners will each receive $38,000 in back pay and general compensatory damages with 141 job applicants each receiving $19,000.

In Illinois charges of age discrimination can be filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). I file charges with both agencies but prefer to file with the IDHR because I believe the state investigates better and in a more timely fashion. Many times a company that engages in this type of behavior does it on a large scale.

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November 13, 2009

Bellco Credit Union Pays $57,250 To Settle Age Discrimination Lawsuit

Bellco Credit Union will pay $57,250 to settle an age discrimination lawsuit which was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commis­sion ("EEOC") on behalf of a 61-year-old bank teller was fired because of her age. The lawsuit was filed under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA") which prohibits employment discrimination because of age. The ADEA applies to males and females over the age of 40.

Age discrimination seems to be a growing problem in Illinois and throughout the country. Because the unemployment rate is over 10%, many employers believe they can treat employees in a harsh and discriminatory fashion and not face any consequences. With cuts in both the state and federal budgets, many agencies don't have the resources to properly investigate claims of age discrimination and other forms of discrimination. It is important to get an employment lawyer involved early in the process to protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve.


“The EEOC takes age discrimination, and all discrimination, very seriously. In these economically challenging times, fair treatment by employers is more important than ever." said
Rayford Irvin, Acting Director of the EEOC's Phoenix District Office.


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September 18, 2009

New Illinois Law Takes Affect January 1, 2010 Adding Additional Discrimination Protections

The Illinois Human Rights Act ("IHRA") also known as, 775 ILCS 5/1-101 will now offer protection to individuals who have an order of protection. Starting at the first of the year it will be considered unlawful discrimination, based on order of protection status, to take any negative job action on an individual if they have an order of protection and there is no legitimate business reason for the negative job action.

This new law adds order of protection status to the current protected classifications of religion, age, race, national origin, gender, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, military status, and unfavorable discharge from military service. The initial charge would be filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights in either Chicago or Springfield.

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September 12, 2009

Allstate Pays $4.5 Million To Settle Age Discrimination Lawsuit

One of the largest insurance companies in the world, Allstate agreed to pay $4,500,000 to settle age discrimination lawsuits with 90 former employees, all of whom are over 40 and provide significant remedial relief. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commision ("EEOC") filed a lawsuit back in 2004 and alleged that Allstate put in place a policy that had a disproportionate impact on Allstate’s employees over the age of 40 because more than 90 percent of the agents subjected to the hiring moratorium undere the program were 40 years of age or older.

Allstate fiercely contested the lawsuit but eventually gave in to the EEOC. As a backdrop for their decision to gave in Allstate relied on a recent Supreme Court case. In 2005, the United States Supreme Court held in Smith v. City of Jackson that a facially neutral policy, such as Allstate’s hiring moratorium, which disproportionately affected those age 40 and over violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA") unless the policy was based on a reasonable factor other than age.

As part of the settlement Allstate will pay former employees who sought employment or would have sought employment a total of $4.5 million to be divided among the class via a settlement fund. Additionally Allstate is required to pay for discrimination prevention training, post notices regarding age discrimination and participate in other relief designed to educate Allstate managers in order to prevent future violations of the ADEA.

“Discrimination against older workers is counterproductive and wrong, and the EEOC has been taking a close look at ways to increase our law enforcement efforts in this area,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru.

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August 11, 2009

Mason City Iowa Settles Gender and Age Discrimination Lawsuit

The Mason City Council reached a settlement on an age discrimination and gender discrimination lawsuit but did not disclose how much it will cost the taxpayers. Pat Gansen, 57, a city animal-control officer for eleven years and city employee for seventeen years alleges she was denied a job promotion because of age and gender discrimination. Gansen filed her lawsuit in June 2008, claiming the city permitted gender and age discrimination and harassment, and retaliated against her complaints by failing to promote her.

Gansen also alleged discrimination based on pay and benefits, and that she was denied her equal protection under the law by denying her equal pay-a violation of the civil rights act of 1964. Defendants in the lawsuit were the city, chief building official Chuck McGreevey, city engineer Mark Rahm and human resources director Tom Meyer, who is also the city attorney.

August 3, 2009

L&T Group of Companies, Ltd Pays $1.7 Million to Settle Discrimination Cases With The EEOC

L&T Group of Companies, Ltd., the largest employer and conglomerate of garment manufacturers in Saipan, will pay $1.7 million and to provide far reaching and significant injunctive relief to settle a series of lawsuits filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The lawsuits alleged the company violated federal law regarding retaliation and discrimination based on national origin, pregnancy and age, all in violation of federal law. The EEOC alleged that the employer retaliated against 14 Filipino and Bangladeshi workers when it terminated them because they filed charges of discrimination with the EEOC.

The allegations in the case also included that Bangladeshi security guards were being treated differently than Nepalese with respect to assignment of overtime hours, work location, and housing. Further, the EEOC said the defendants discriminated on the basis of national origin by providing different amounts of benefits to Nepalese, Chinese, Filipino and Bangladeshi employees, and failed to conduct any investigation regarding the claimants’ allegations. Within two or three months after the charge was filed with the EEOC, the defendants unlawfully retaliated against the workers by failing to renew their contracts.

“This major settlement shows that the EEOC will vigorously protect the rights of all workers, within every reach of our jurisdiction, to be free of discrimination,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “The resolutions of these egregious cases bring a measure of justice to the many workers who were retaliated against and otherwise victimized by discriminatory employment practices because of their national origin, age, or pregnancy.”

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July 14, 2009

California Teacher Awarded $65,000 Plus Benefits In Age Discrimination Lawsuit

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") settled its age-discrimination lawsuit on behalf of Lawford Goddard, a former teacher at Bay Area Colleges. Goddard applied for an assistant professor's position at San Francisco State, where he had been a part-time lecturer since 1989. He had been teaching at Bay Area colleges since earning his doctorate from Stanford in 1976. A faculty committee placed him among three finalists for the job, but the school's dean chose another candidate.

In its lawsuit, the EEOC alleged the dean told the screening committee he wanted "fresh blood and new ideas" and had made comments about getting rid of "old '60s hippies" faculty members. The lawsuit claimed Goddard was more qualified than the winning candidate for the $65,000-a-year job and had been rejected because of his age, with amounted to age discrimination.

The university denied discriminating and said it had chosen a candidate who was more accomplished in his writings, had a superior overall record and had performed superbly since his hiring. The settlement contains no admission of wrongdoing.

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June 28, 2009

United States Supreme Court Gives Union Workers The Shaft

The United States Supreme Court in 14 Penn Plaza LLC v. Pyett, 129 S. Ct. 1456 (2009) by a 5-4 vote held that a provision in a collective bargaining agreement ("Agreement") which clearly and unmistakeably requires employees to arbitrate their statutory discrimination claims is enforceable and precludes employees from asserting their statutory claims in state or federal courts. In laymans terms what this means is that if you are in a union and through bargaining the union agrees to settle all employment claims through arbitration, your sole remedy as a union employee is to arbitrate the claim. You will be forever barred from filing a claim in any federal or state court.

This decision does not affect employees who are not in a union as they have not bargained through their representatives the terms of their employment. The types of claims involved could include sexual harassment, gender discrimination, age discrimination, racial discrimination. Americans with Disabilities, age discrimination, religious discrimination, retaliation claims and sexual orientations claims.

The Court did hold that the Agreement to arbitrate must be "clear and unmistakable". One issue the Court did not address is what happens if the Union does not take the employees claim to arbitration? There are two ways to interpert the Court's decision in Pyett, one the employee would have no further remedy or in that case the employee court take the case to state or federal court, however the latter seems less likely under Pyett.

June 17, 2009

Providence Alaska Medical Center to pay $220,000 To Settle Age Discrimination Lawsuit

Providence Alaska Medical Center will pay $220,000 and revise its policies, provide training on discrimination and retaliation for operating room employees, and file regular reports with the EEOC for monitoring in addition to other injunctive relief as part of a settlement of an age discrimination lawsuit on behalf of five workers laid off and denied rehire because of their age.

The EEOC charged that in February 2005, Providence laid off and refused to rehire longtime employees Gola Anderson, Lawrence Harris, Milagros Lopez, Rebecca Petrie and Canijie Sadiku, following a restructuring of the hospital’s operating room. The five employees had devoted between 11 and 24 years of their careers as surgery aides and anesthesia technicians to Providence and all had hoped to retire from Providence one day. The EEOC said that the five employees, ages between 46 and 56, lost their jobs due to their age, and were replaced by new hires in their twenties and thirties.

"Employers have a duty to ensure that they do not run afoul of the law when they restructure their workforce,” said EEOC San Francisco Regional Attorney William R. Tamayo. “We commend Providence for working cooperatively to resolve this lawsuit and believe that the relief provided in the consent decree will prevent something like this from happening in the future.”

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June 4, 2009

Age Discrimination Lawsuit Settles For $50,000

Russell Hack, 73, a former road department worker for Dawes county, says he was forced to retire in 2006 due to his age. The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") filed the age discrimination lawsuit against Dawes County after Hack made his allegations. Hack said his supervisor told him all employees older than 70 years of age were required to take a medical stress test. He further claimed that the supervisor said Hack should retire because he would fail the test. Hack planned to continue driving the county road grader until he turned 75. Under the terms of the settlement Dawes County will pay Hack $50,000 in lost wages, pension benefits and other damages.

According to a press release from the EEOC, Hack retired before taking the stress test, but senior trial attorney Michelle M. Robertson, said no other county road workers were required to submit to the test. The EEOC says the county never implemented the stress test policy after Hack retired. Hack was the only full-time employee in the department over the age of 70 at the time.


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May 26, 2009

Damages In A Sexual Harassment Case

Although the title suggests damages in a sexual harassment case, these damages are also available in most discrimination cases.
1. Economic Damages--consist of back and front pay plus incidentals. Included in this calculation are benefits. Back pay is the amount of money equal to wages an employee would have earned, including all benefits from the date of discharge through the date of final judgment. Front pay is an amount of money equal to wages and benefits the employee will lose in the future because of a lower paying job or no job at all. Incidentals may be relocation costs, education costs for retraining and costs for tools if required at a new position.

2. Emotional Distress Damages--There is new specific formula for this calculation and there are many factors to consider including, the credibility of the employee, length of employment, believeability of witnesses, prior or pre-existing similar injuries, nature and extent of counseling or other medical treatment, and strength of the underlying case.

3. Punitive Damages--Under Title VII and ADA violations punitive damages may be awarded. In order to recover the employee must prove the employer engaged in a discriminatory practice or discriminatory practices with malice or with reckless indifference to the federally protected rights of the employee, but also that liability for the punitive damages should be imputed to the employer.

4. Attorneys' Fees--All federal anti discrimination statutes and those in Illinois provide for the recovery of attorney fees by the prevailing party. Discretion as to the amount is up to the Judge.

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April 13, 2009

Dell Denies Age and Gender Discrimination Claims

As a result of the times and massive laysoffs in many businesses, a lawsuit was filed which accuses Dell Inc. of discriminating against women and older workers-age discrimination and gender discrimination. Dell denied allegations that it had treated employees unfairly and said that no layoffs were made on the basis of age or gender. The lawsuit against Dell accused it of segregating women into lower-grade positions with less pay and fewer promotions than men who performed comparably or less well. A former senior HR manager, Mildred Chapman, was denied promotions or pay increases even though her responsibilities were equal to, or greater than, younger male directors, the lawsuit alleged. Dell denied those charges in its response.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and later moved to the Western District of Texas, where the plaintiffs are seeking class-action status. The lawsuit was filed by four former human resources executives who are seeking $500 million for the alleged discrimination. The women charged that Dell and its "old-boy network" discriminated against women and employees over 40 in areas including pay, promotions and layoffs. All fourteen members of the Dell management team were males at the time the lawsuit was filed.

"Consistently and at all times, Dell acted in good faith and maintained, implemented and enforced a policy in its workplaces against discrimination, harassment and retaliation," the company said.
April 10, 2009

Illinois Supreme Court Update--Illinois Human Rights Act Doesn't Bar Federal and State Claims

The Illinois Supreme Court held in Blount v. Stroud, 2009 WL 153862 (Ill Sup Ct. 2009) that the Illinois Human Rights Act ("Act") doesn't preclude employees who file a claim under the Human Rights Act from bringing other claims based on common law, or federal statutes in state court.

Background

Jerri Blount filed a multicount complaint in Cook County Circuit Court against her former employer Jovon Broadcasting Corporation and the owner and general manager. The two counts of interest to his analysis were her common law retaliatory discharge and retaliation under 42 USC Section 1981. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss claiming the Act precluded her from filing in the circuit court. The court rejected the motion to dismiss and she was ultimately awarded over $3 million dollars by a jury. The appellate court reversed holding the Act deprives Illinois Courts of subject matter jurisdiction. The Illinois Supreme Court heard the case and ruled that whether facts giving rise to a civil rights violation as defined under state law might also give rise to a civil rights violation under definitions found in federal statutes was not relevant and Blount had a right to pursue her claim under federal law in state circuit court.

April 1, 2009

Illinois Schnucks Employee Files Age Discrimination Lawsuit

Gary Rittenhouse had worked for the Belleville Schnucks Markets from Aug. 15, 1977, until his termination on May 15, 2007, according to the complaint filed Feb. 27 in St. Clair County Circuit Court. Rittenhouse, 44, alleges he was wrongfully terminated from his employment as an assistant manager because of his age--which is age discrimination. Rittenhouse began working for the company as a bagger and eventually worked his way up to assistant manager.

Because of his termination, Rittenhouse lost income, suffered a diminution in his employability and suffered humiliation and severe emotional distress that required medical and professional treatment, according to the complaint, which is in St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-109.

"At the time of his termination, Rittenhouse was doing the job well enough to meet the employer's reasonable expectations," the suit states. "Rittenhouse was discharged in whole or in material part because of his age."

Rittenhouse is seeking a judgment in an amount that will fully compensate him, plus attorney's fees, costs and other relief the court deems appropriate.

March 16, 2009

Age Discrimination Claims Highest In History According To The EEOC

Discrimination claims filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") last year rose to the highest in the agency’s 44-year history. Many believe this is a result of last years Supreme Court ruling that changed the way complaints may be filed. The EEOC said 95,402 claims were filed during 2008 which represented a 15 percent increase from 2007. Of the EEOC's total claims more than 25 percent contained an allegation of age discrimination while more than 34 percent included complaints of retaliation.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that workers need not file a formal complaint with the EEOC before suing an employer for age discrimination. The EEOC said it recovered $376 million for claimants last year as it filed 290 new lawsuits and resolved 339 suits and 81,081 non-litigation claims.

“Older workers generally cost more,” consequently, they’ve become job-cut targets, said the lawyer, a principal of Hannafan & Hannafan Ltd. “The companies are probably discriminating.”

Filing a discrimination claim can be a job-defense tactic, Sternberg, a partner at St. Louis-based Thompson Coburn LLP, said. “The law doesn’t have a fairness requirement, one has to translate that feeling of unfairness to unfairness based on a protected characteristic,” such as age reports bloomberg.com

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