EEOC Wins Settlements in Two Age Discrimination Cases Involving Senior Citizens

As the workforce ages, the nature of age discrimination lawsuits is changing. While the law protects anyone over age 40 from discrimination on the basis of age, some recent cases involve complaints from employees older than the traditional retirement age of 65. The EEOC announced two separate settlements this week in cases involving employees 70 years old or more who alleged discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

In one case, the EEOC charged that Kmart discriminated against a 70-year-old pharmacist at a Honolulu store. Kmart will pay $120,000 to settle the suit. The EEOC said in a news release:

"According to the EEOC's suit, over the course of four years, a pharmacy manager openly professed on several occasions that the pharmacist was 'too old,' 'should just retire,' and was 'greedy' for continuing to work at age 70. Further, the EEOC said, the manager continued to humiliate her in writing by stating, 'The pharmacy is no longer your forte' and 'You need to retire from pharmacy work now,' in a communication book open to the entire department."

Read the full release here: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/3-24-10.cfm

In the second case, Red Rock Western Jeep Tours Inc., a tour operator in Sedona, Ariz., will pay $35,000 to settle an age discrimination suit involving a 75-year-old woman who was fired after only two days of work as a receptionist. According to the EEOC release:

"'Companies cannot terminate or refuse to hire qualified older workers because of their age; it is illegal and violates federal law,' said EEOC Phoenix Regional Attorney Mary Jo O'Neill. 'Some employers seem to be tempted to hire younger workers for jobs which entail interacting with the public on behalf of the company. However, a company which fails to hire or terminates qualified workers because of their age does so at its peril because such actions may be unlawful.'"

Read the full release here: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/3-23-10.cfm

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