Employee fired for applying to move closer to disabled son settles for $100,000
- The Camber Corp. will pay $100,000 and other forms of relief to settle a disability and age discrimination lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced. The agency charged the defense contractor with violating the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).
- The EEOC says that when Camber learned that an employee, Ashok Pai, was considering a transfer to be closer to his son, who was left disabled from an auto accident more than 25 years ago, the company classified him as "resigned" and started termination proceedings. It eventually fired Pai, who was in his mid-60s, and replaced him with a much younger employee.
- Besides paying Pai $100,000 in back pay, Camber is responsible for injunctive relief to prevent age and disability discrimination from happening in the future. The company must provide annual training on both laws' protections, including the ADA provision that prohibits discrimination against people for their association with someone who has a disability, and it must post anti-discrimination notices in all its locations.
The EEOC seems to be particularly committed to addressing ageism in the workplace in recent months. In the first few months of 2018 alone, the agency brought age discrimination suits against a dental surgery office for $47,000 in March and a restaurant chain for $2.85 million in early May, and initiated an investigation of Intel in late May for allegedly targeting older workers in a layoff.
Employers should likely brush up on these laws and teach their managers about them as well to prevent future issues, experts say. A new report from the EEOC shows that older workers still struggle to get hired despite low unemployment, and only 3% of those surveyed report having made a formal complaint regarding ageism to someone in the workplace or a government agency, pointing to the problem being even more widespread than it may appear. Employers can work proactively to avoid such claims by reviewing recruitment materials, such as online postings and interview panels.