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PRESS RELEASE
9-24-13

Mattress Firm Sued By EEOC for Targeting Older Workers with Widespread Age Discrimination

Mattress  Giant Forced Out Older Workers in Favor of Younger Staff, Says EEOC

LAS  VEGAS - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced  that it has filed an age discrimination lawsuit against Mattress Firm on behalf  of a class of older workers who were forced out and replaced by younger staff  in the greater Las Vegas area.

Store  managers and salespersons over 40 years of age endured Mattress Firm's campaign  to edge them out upon the retail giant's 2007 acquisition of a Las Vegas  mattress chain, Bedtime Mattress, contends the EEOC.  Senior management officials allegedly  conspired to force out the older staff, which comprised a majority at the time,  by intentionally treating them less favorably than incoming younger staff.

The  EEOC asserts that older workers were pushed to work harder and held to a higher  work standard, demoted to work under less experienced and younger staff, denied  promotional opportunities, denied training and access to computer systems,  and/or had their commissions diluted.   Ultimately, older workers felt compelled to quit or were otherwise  forced out.  By the end of 2007, Mattress  Firm successfully replaced them with an influx of younger and less experienced  store managers and salespersons that made up the new overwhelming  majority. 

Such  alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).  The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District  Court for the District of Nevada (EEOC v. Mattress Firm, Inc., Case No. Case 2:13-cv-01745) after first attempting to  reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.  The EEOC's suit seeks back pay and  liquidated damages for  the class of older workers as well as injunctive relief intended to prevent  further age discrimination at the company. 

"The  loss of a job can be devastating for older workers," said Anna Park, regional  attorney for the EEOC's Los Angeles District, whose jurisdiction includes  southern Nevada.  "The EEOC will  vigorously enforce the Age Discrimination in Employment Act to protect older  workers who face discrimination on the job."

  Amy  Burkholder, director of the EEOC's Las Vegas Local Office, added, "Nationally  and in Nevada, age discrimination charges make up about a quarter of all  complaints filed with the EEOC.  Workers  are increasingly aware of their rights, and employers must ensure that older  workers are not targeted for unequal treatment."

According  to Mattress Firm's website, www.mattressfirm.com, the Houston-based mattress  retailer currently operates over 1,100 locations across 28 states.

The  EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.  Further information about the EEOC is available  on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.