Government Suit Charged Diversified Technology Giant with Firing and Demoting Class of Employees due to Ageism
NEWARK, N.J. - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has resolved a class action employment discrimination lawsuit against Morristown, N.J.-based Honeywell International, a global diversified technology company with over 100,000 employees in 95 countries. EEOC's litigation alleged violations of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) at the company's headquarters and various regions nationwide by representatives of the former AlliedSignal Automotive Aftermarket (the makers of consumer car care items such as Prestone and Fram products), which Honeywell, Inc. acquired during a 1999 merger.
According to EEOC's suit, a class of sales managers and representatives were either terminated or demoted in 1997 because of their age during a companywide reorganization. Assertedly, in many instances, younger workers with less experience were retained and/or offered those positions. The suit was filed in federal district court in New Jersey by the agency's Philadelphia District Office.
In the Consent Decree resolving the lawsuit, Honeywell denies any wrongdoing. Honeywell and EEOC entered into the agreement in order to avoid the time, expense and uncertainty of further litigation. Honeywell agrees to provide a total of $2,150,000 to resolve the lawsuit. In addition, it agrees to post a notice concerning the lawsuit at appropriate facilities and to provide training in the provisions of the ADEA to all the managers and supervisors in the Consumer Products Group (CPG) and Frictions Materials (FM) businesses. The term of the decree is approximately two years.
"We hail the willingness of all the parties to work together to craft a thorough and effective resolution to this lawsuit," said Jacqueline McNair, Regional Attorney of EEOC's Philadelphia office, who is overseeing the case. "While a substantial amount of money will flow to those who stepped forward and filed charges with the Commission as well as to others affected by the pattern of alleged age discrimination, the training required by the Consent Decree is also noteworthy as it will benefit all Honeywell employees in the CPG and FM businesses."
"The path to the resolution of this lawsuit is one EEOC would welcome other defendants to follow," said Acting Supervisory Trial Attorney Mary Tiernan. "Early in the litigation process, defendant expressed a willingness to discuss settlement of this complex case. Thereafter, the parties engaged in mediation and worked diligently to arrive at a resolution."
The ADEA makes it illegal to deny a person any employment opportunity because of that person's age (provided they are 40 or older).In addition to enforcing the ADEA, which protects workers 40 years of age and older from discrimination based on age, the 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. Further information about the Commission is available on the agency's web site at www.eeoc.gov.