The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

PRESS RELEASE
9-25-09

SEARS SUED BY EEOC FOR AGE DISCRIMINATION

61-Year-Old Denied Position at Corpus Christi Store Because of Age, Federal Agency Says

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A Corpus Christi Sears store violated federal law by refusing to hire a 61-year-old applicant because of his age, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC’s suit against Sears, Roebuck and Co., doing business as Sears #1217, the Sears store at 1305 Airline Road refused to hire the applicant into a loss prevention / asset protection associate position despite his qualifications and 27 years of experience. Sears explained to the EEOC that the man was “not a good fit and would be too hard to train.” A former Sears employee told the applicant in late October 2007, several months after he initially applied for the position, that the manager of the Loss Prevention Department felt he was “too old” for the position. Sears subsequently hired a number of individuals, most of whom were under 30, and none of them had experience comparable to the 61-year-old applicant.

Such alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Corpus Christi Division (EEOC v. Sears, Roebuck and Co. d/b/a Sears #1217, Civil Action No. 2:09-cv-00253) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. In its complaint, the EEOC seeks back pay and liquidated damages, rightful place hiring for the applicant into a comparable position or front pay in lieu thereof, as well as injunctive relief.

“Given today's economic climate, we are seeing more and more older workers choosing to remain in the workforce and compete for scarce jobs," said Judith G. Taylor, supervisory trial attorney for the EEOC’s San Antonio Field Office, which is handling this case. “Too often employers simply write off older applicants, with age being the determinative factor. All people, regardless of age, deserve an equal chance to compete and advance in the workplace, and the EEOC will fight for the rights of older workers, by litigation if necessary.”

In fiscal year 2008, the EEOC received 24,582 charges alleging age discrimination. This is an increase of 27 percent from fiscal year 2007, and nearly 65 percent over the past 10 years.

In July, the Commission held a public hearing on age discrimination and barriers to the employment of older workers. Additional information about the hearing can be found on the EEOC’s web site at http://www.eeoc.gov/abouteeoc/meetings/7-15-09/index.html.

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


This page was last modified on September 25, 2009.

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