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PRESS RELEASE
10-13-11

Thomasville City Schools Settle EEOC Age Discrimination Suit

Federal Agency Obtains $25,000 for School Teacher Who Was Denied Promotion to Assistant Principal Due to Her Age

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Thomasville City Schools in Thomasville, N.C., will pay $25,000 and furnish other relief to settle an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

The settlement resolves the EEOC’s lawsuit charging that in 2007 and 2008 the school system failed to hire Arlene Lent for two assistant principal positions because of her age (54 at the time). Instead, the EEOC said, the system selected two younger, less qualified candidates. The EEOC’s lawsuit alleged that Lent met all of the minimum qualifications for the positions, while neither of the younger candidates who were selected did. At the time of the decision, Lent was a teacher in the same school district, had earned her North Carolina principal’s license and had 16 years of experience in education. Lent continues to teach in the school district.

Age discrimination violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which protects individuals aged 40 and older from employment discrimination.

In addition to paying $25,000 in monetary damages to Lent, the three-year consent decree resolving the case (EEOC v. Thomasville City Schools, Civil Action No. 1:10-CV-00686 filed in the Middle District of North Carolina), includes injunctive relief enjoining Thomasville City Schools from engaging in further discriminatory acts on the basis of age, provides for training on preventing age discrimination in hiring, and requires that the school system report information about its hiring practices to the EEOC.

“We are pleased that the EEOC was able to resolve this case,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office. “As the U.S. work force, populated significantly by baby boomers, continues to grow older, it’s even more important that employers ensure that their hiring decisions do not discriminate on the basis of age.”

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.