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Metallic Products Corp. Pays $60,000 To Settle EEOC Age Discrimination Lawsuit

Company Fired Employee on His 70th Birthday Under Illegal Mandatory Retirement Policy, Federal Agency Charged

HOUSTON -- A Houston manufacturer will pay $60,000 and  provide other relief to settle an age discrimination lawsuit brought by the  Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s suit, filed  in November 2010, Metallic Products Corp. had an unlawful mandatory retirement  policy which required employees to retire upon reaching age 70. Before he turned 70, company officials advised  Jeronimo Vidals that he would be required to retire upon reaching 70 years of  age. Then, on his 70th birthday, he was fired from the company pursuant to its  unlawful mandatory retirement policy.

“With rare exception, mandatory  retirement policies violate the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA),  which prohibits forcing an employee to retire at any particular age,” said R.J. Ruff,  Jr., district director of the EEOC’s Houston District Office.

A four-year consent decree settling  the suit was signed today by Judge Sim Lake. In addition to the  monetary payment to Vidals, it requires Metallic Products to rescind the  unlawful policy and notify all current employees and former employees who may  have been affected by the policy about this settlement. The company must  rewrite all company policies and employee manuals and eliminate any mention,  reference or description of the former mandatory retirement policy.  Additionally, the company must provide annual ADEA and anti-discrimination training  to its board of directors as well as all management and other personnel making  employment decisions.

“Qualified and productive employees  cannot be fired based on the employer’s belief that the employee is too old to  continue working or that at a specific age, all employees are expendable,”  said Jim Sacher, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Houston District Office. “That  type of biased decision making is exactly why the ADEA was enacted.”

Kathy D. Boutchee, the senior trial  attorney in charge of the case, added, “Mr. Vidals was, and continues to be,  able to perform in the workplace. Employers cannot let their pre-conceived  notions about when an employee should stop working color their employment  decisions. Older workers can continue to make vital contributions far beyond  the period when others think they should retire.”

The EEOC enforces federal laws  prohibiting employment discrimination. Additional information about the EEOC is  available on the agency’s website at