EEOC Says Company Fired Older Employee, Replaced Her With Much Younger Worker
PHOENIX – Red Rock Western Jeep Tours, Inc. violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) by terminating Gloria N. Rose, who was 75 years of age at the time, and replacing her with a significantly younger worker, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed this week.
The EEOC alleges in its suit (Case No. 3:09-CV-8147- DKD ), in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, that Red Rock Western Jeep Tours, Inc. (Red Rock) fired Rose because of her age after only two days of employment. The complaint further alleges that after terminating Rose, Red Rock hired an 18-year-old worker with less experience to replace her. Such alleged conduct violates the ADEA, which prohibits age-based discrimination by employers against individuals age 40 or older.
EEOC Phoenix Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill said, “Employers must not rely on age-based stereotypes about older workers, many of whom are highly qualified with significant experience that can benefit a company’s bottom line. Older people deserve equal opportunities to participate and succeed in the workplace.”
As part of its suit, the EEOC is seeking monetary relief for Rose, an end to any discriminatory employment practices by Red Rock Western Jeep Tours and other remedial relief. The EEOC filed suit only after exhausting its conciliation efforts to reach a voluntary settlement.
EEOC’s Acting Phoenix District Director Rayford Irvin said, “With the graying of the U.S. workforce, companies must be vigilant in ensuring that age discrimination does not occur. Employers must understand that it is illegal to terminate older employees without just cause and replace them with younger workers.”
In July of this year, the EEOC held a public hearing on recent developments in age discrimination, including the effect on older workers of widespread layoffs, threats to employee benefits and controversial recent court decisions. The Commission also issued a technical assistance document on waivers of discrimination claims as part of severance agreements. Further information is available at http://www.eeoc.gov/press/7-15-09.html and http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/qanda_severance-agreements.html.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.