DENVER -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Martin Marietta Corporation, now Lockheed Martin, have agreed to settle a lawsuit filed under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). U.S. District Court Judge Wiley Y. Daniel today gave preliminary approval to the settlement which provides $13 million in backpay and 450 jobs to laid-off employees who were affected by age discrimination.
At a press conference here to announce the settlement, EEOC Chairman Gilbert F. Casellas said, "This settlement underscores EEOC's commitment to upholding the job rights of older workers and ensuring nondiscrimination in corporate layoff and downsizing practices." The Chairman also lauded the use of mediation in resolving the bias issues contained in the agency's lawsuit. "The EEOC is committed to using mediation techniques where appropriate and feasible," he said.
EEOC's suit, originally filed in May 1994, claimed that Martin targeted its employees age 40 and over for a series of massive layoffs and forced retirements over a five-year period. Under the terms of the settlement, which is in the form of a proposed consent decree, Martin will pay $13 million to an estimated 2,000 former employees who were laid off between January 1, 1990, and December 31, 1994, from non-union jobs in Martin's Astronautics Group. Payments will also go to affected former workers in the Information and Communications System organization of the company's Information Systems Group working in Colorado. Most of the beneficiaries worked in Colorado.
In addition, the settlement provides that Martin will rehire at least 450 older workers who were laid off in those years. Some 204 older laid-off employees had already been rehired by Martin as of early August 1996.
Martin has also agreed to provide free outplacement services for two years to every former employee in the class who completes a claim form notifying the company of an interest in these services. In addition, the company will pay for a maximum of two courses per semester and as many as eight courses per class member who participates in the settlement. The courses will be offered at the company's Evening Institute, and will include college-level courses. Many of these courses are expected to be particularly helpful in upgrading the engineering and computer skills of individuals who wish to compete for future job openings. There are also provisions for re-training managers in nondiscriminatory decision making, including reductions in force. The Commission will monitor compliance with settlement terms for five years.
EEOC General Counsel C. Gregory Stewart said the settlement means that "valuable employees are being reemployed or retrained" by Martin. "But best of all," he added, "the avoidance of a lengthy trial made a real difference in the lives of the real people behind the charges that led to today's consent decree."
Judge Daniel has set March 5, 1997, as the date for final hearing on the decree.
In addition to enforcing the ADEA, EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; the Equal Pay Act; Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits employment discrimination against people with disabilities in the private sector and state and local governments; prohibitions against discrimination affecting individuals with disabilities in the federal government; and sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991.