City Colleges of Chicago Sued for Age Discrimination
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- Published on Tuesday, 05 August 2014 18:49
Harold Washington College, part of the City Colleges of Chicago system, has been sued for age discrimination by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). According to the complaint, the college refused to hire Nancy Sullivan, an adjunct professor, for a full-time faculty position because of her age--66. The EEOC's investigation revealed that Sullivan had worked as an adjunct professor in the English Department at the college for five years before applying for the full-time faculty position. According to the EEOC, Sullivan "had the credentials, had compiled an excellent record during her tenure as an adjunct and had enthusiastic recommendations from several full-time members of the faculty. She looked like a perfect fit for the job, yet was passed over in favor of younger, less-experienced candidates."
Restaurant Allegedly Refused to Hire Older Workers
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- Published on Wednesday, 11 December 2013 16:44
Ruby Tuesday, Inc. will pay $575,000 and provide equitable relief to settle a class age discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).The EEOC alleged that Ruby Tuesday engaged in a pattern or practice of age discrimination against job applicants who were 40 years of age or older at six of the chain's restaurants located in West Mifflin, Greensburg, Altoona, Du Bois, and Indiana, Pa., and in Beachwood, Ohio, in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA). According to the EEOC, the restaurant chain also failed to preserve employment records, including employment applications, as required by the ADEA and EEOC regulations. EEOC General Counsel David Lopez commented that, "This case demonstrates the agency's ongoing commitment to challenge discriminatory barriers to hiring…Vigorous law enforcement efforts on behalf of older workers are critical to the EEOC's mission to eradicate barriers to employment." Read More.
EEOC Files Lawsuit Against a Bank for Alleged Age and Disability Discrimination
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- Published on Monday, 08 October 2012 06:09
Denial of a reasonable accommodation to a disabled individual violates Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, and discriminating on the basis of age violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a lawsuit against Regions Financial Corporation, doing business as Regions Bank, for allegedly violating federal law by terminating a 61-year-old manager because of her age and refusing to provide her with a reasonable accommodation for her disability. According to the EEOC's suit, Regions Bank fired the manager of a Memphis branch after she requested a reasonable accommodation for her disability, hyperthyroidism, which caused her debilitating fatigue and heightened anxiety. The EEOC alleged that the branch manager had worked for Regions Bank's predecessor for more than 30 years and had worked for Regions Bank since 2005. The EEOC further alleges that Regions refused her request for reasonable accommodation and failed to engage in the interactive process to accommodate the manager which is required under federal law. Further, the EEOC alleged that Regions treated younger managers more favorably than the branch manager. Read More.
Employee Pension Plans Under Scrutiny by EEOC
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- Published on Friday, 26 October 2012 02:22
A U.S. District Court Judge ruled on October 22, 2012 that a Baltimore County Pension plan which contained rules which required different contribution rates from employees based on age, violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967. The lawsuit was filed in 2007, by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), on behalf of two county Department of Corrections employees, and a class of similarly situated employees who were at least 40 years of age, and who were required to pay higher pension contributions than those paid by younger employees.
The District Court rejected Baltimore County's argument that the Supreme Court's decision in Kentucky Retirement v. EEOC, 554 U.S. 135 (2008) permitted the pension practice. U.S District Court Judge Benson Everett Legg emphasized in his decision that the pension plan could result in "Two employees with the same number of years until retirement eligibility—that is, the same pension status—do not necessarily contribute at the same rate. Pension status, therefore, cannot be the driving factor behind the disparate treatment, which is directly linked to an employee’s age. As such, because age is the 'but-for' cause of the disparate treatment, the ERS violates the [Age Discrimination in Employment Act](ADEA)." The court also noted that Baltimore County, although provided amble opportunity, failed to bring forward evidence that non-age related financial considerations justified the disparity in contribution rates between older and younger workers. The next phase of the litigation will determine damages.
"It is pretty rare that any plaintiff can win any claim against a pension plan," said EEOC General Counsel David Lopez. "While some may have thought the Kentucky Retirement decision spelled the death knell for this case and others like it, our perseverance paid off in limiting the impact of that decision. The EEOC is prepared to vigorously litigate these cases, where necessary, to ensure compliance with the law."
This resolution is the latest in a series of systemic suits the EEOC has brought against public employers alleging age discrimination in the provision of retirement benefits. Although these cases have been filed against public employers, private employers are likely to be the next focus for the EEOC. Thus, all employers need to scrutinize their pension/retirement plans to make sure they are complaint with the ADEA. Read More.
An Inference of Age Discrimination May Exist if Others Not In Protected Class Are Treated More Favorably
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- Published on Monday, 24 September 2012 17:49
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits an employer from terminating an employee who is over forty years of age because of the employee’s age. Under a “disparate treatment” theory of discrimination, a plaintiff in an ADEA case can establish age discrimination based on: (1) “circumstantial evidence” of age discrimination; or (2) “direct evidence” of age discrimination. To establish a prima facie case of discrimination, the employee must allege that he or she was: (1) at least forty years old; (2) performing his or her job satisfactorily; (3) discharged; and (4) either replaced by a substantially younger employee with equal or inferior qualifications or discharged under circumstances otherwise giving rise to an inference of age discrimination. An inference of discrimination can be established by showing the employer had a continuing need for the employee’s skills and services in that their various duties were still being performed . . . or by showing that others not in their protected class were treated more favorably.
In a recent case, Sheppard v. David Evans and Assoc., Kathryn Sheppard, who worked for David Evans and Assoc., alleged that that she was wrongfully terminated due to her age (over forty). She also alleged that even though her performance was satisfactory or better and she received consistently good performance reviews, she was terminated and five of younger coworkers kept their jobs. Although the lower court held that Sheppard had not pled sufficient facts to constitute a cause of action, on appeal to the 9th Circuit, the court disagreed holding that Sheppard’s allegation that “her five younger comparators kept their jobs gives rise to an ‘inference of age discrimination’ because it plausibly suggests that Evans ‘had a continuing need for [Sheppard’s] skills and services [because her] various duties were still being performed.’ It also plausibly suggests that employees outside her protected class ‘were treated more favorably’ than Sheppard.”
This case highlights the fact that employers must be careful about termination of employees who are age 40 or older to ensure that it does not constitute a violation of the ADEA. An inference of age discrimination may exist in situations where a group of employees is performing the same job but only the employee over age 40 is terminated, even though the employee did not have performance issues. Similarly, an inference of age discrimination may exist in situations where an employee is over the age of 40, has no performance issues, is terminated, and subsequently replaced by a younger employee. In cases where performance problems do exist with a worker protected by the ADEA, it is essential that such problems be properly documented in advance of any termination. Read More.
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- Employer Must Pay More Than $467,000 For Age Discrimination