- A Swiss-based manufacturer of circular connectors for medical devices agreed to pay $460,000 to a former employee as part of a settlement over an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency said Tuesday (EEOC and Nolan v. Fischer Connectors, Inc. No. 1:22-cv-03884 (N.D. Ga. Feb. 28, 2023)). The company, Fischer Connectors, also will train its U.S. employees and managers on the the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, post federal anti-discrimination laws and employee rights information on-site and permit the EEOC to oversee its future ADEA discrimination complaints.
- The lawsuit alleged that Fischer Connectors fired a human resources director and replaced her with two younger workers in 2019 after she questioned the company over its plans to replace older workers with a younger workforce. The employee said the CEO made discriminatory age-related comments about employees, denied jobs to older employees in favor of younger, less-qualified candidates and forced older upper-management workers out through job eliminations.
- “This was a textbook example of age discrimination in violation of the ADEA,” Marcus Keegan, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office, said in a news release. “The ADEA makes it clear that employment decisions must be made based on employee qualifications rather than on stereotypes about an employee based on their age.”
The EEOC defines age discrimination as treating an employee unfavorably because of their age, while the ADEA only covers workers 40 and older. Under the ADEA, employers cannot discriminate in hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoffs, training or benefits.
“Bias and unfounded assumptions about the competence and ability of older workers continue to drive age discrimination in the workplace. The EEOC remains committed to enforcing the laws that protect individuals 40 years of age and older from unlawful discrimination,” Darrell Graham, district director of the Atlanta District Office, said in the news release.
The EEOC also filed a lawsuit against pharmaceutical company Lilly USA in September over claims the company was favoring millennial candidates over older workers for sales positions.