Honolulu Store Forced 73-Year-Old Pharmacist Out of Job, Federal Agency Charges
HONOLULU – Kmart Corporation, which operates several stores in Hawaii, violated federal law by subjecting a 73-year-old female pharmacist to age harassment, retaliation and forcing her out of her job, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit announced today
The EEOC charged in its suit that the pharmacy manager of a Kmart on North Nimitz Highway in Honolulu subjected the woman to age-based insults, such as telling her she was “too old to work,” that she “should retire,” should “retire from pharmacy work now,” and other discriminatory conduct. Although Kmart received notice of the harassment, the company failed to take appropriate action to investigate and correct the hostile workplace, as the law requires.
Instead, the EEOC said, Kmart subjected the woman to a hostile work environment by berating her for lack of competence, making discriminatory comments in performance evaluations, telling her again to retire, and wrongfully accusing her of regulatory violations. Finally, the pharmacist was forced to resign to escape the discriminatory conduct.
Age discrimination and retaliation for complaining about it violate the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Kmart Corporation, CV-09- 00300 in U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. The federal agency seeks lost wages and liquidated relief to prevent and correct any future workplace discrimination.
“The EEOC is committed to preventing age harassment against workers,” said Regional Attorney Anna Park of the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office, which has jurisdiction for Hawaii. “The EEOC is also committed to protecting employees from retaliation for exercising their rights against discrimination. All workers, regardless of age, have the right to work in an environment free of harassment and retaliation.”
EEOC Honolulu Local Director Timothy Riera added, “No one should have to endure being harassed because of their age. Every employee, regardless of age, has the right to earn a paycheck or keep her employment. The EEOC will continue to rigorously defend people against age bias to ensure equal job opportunity for older workers.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.