BALTIMORE – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced the settlement of its age discrimination lawsuit against Lockheed Martin Global Telecommunications for $773,000 for a class of eight older employees.
In its suit (05-cv-00287-RWT), filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Southern Division, the EEOC charged that the Bethesda, Md.-based employer violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) when it discriminated against the employees, ages 65, 62, 61 (three), 53 and 47. The eight workers were fired during a reduction in force implemented in the COMSAT Mobile Communications Division in October 2000. The back pay remedies received by the claimants are in addition to severance pay already received.
Through a separate consent decree filed last year to settle retaliation claims brought in this lawsuit, Lockheed Martin has paid $131,000 in damages to two former employees whose severance was withheld because they had pursued administrative complaints with the EEOC. The EEOC had earlier obtained summary judgment on this issue. The age discrimination claims had been scheduled to go to trial in June. With the settlement of these claims, the lawsuit is now resolved in its entirety.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 prohibits employment discrimination based on age, older than 40 years. It is also unlawful to retaliate against individuals who oppose unlawful employment discrimination. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary resolution.
EEOC Regional Attorney Jacqueline McNair said, “Older workers represent a growing segment of the population and employers should not judge them according to age-based myths and stereotypes. This settlement achieves the EEOC’s objectives by providing relief to the victims while implementing measures to prevent any further age discrimination.”
In Fiscal Year 2007, the EEOC received 19,103 age discrimination charge filings, a 15% increase from the prior year and the biggest annual increase in five years. Allegations of age bias account for 23% of the agency’s private sector caseload.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.