EEOC Said Government Contractor Fired Older Employee
BALTIMORE – A government contractor that provides technology services to the U.S. Army at its Aberdeen, Md., location will pay $60,000 and furnish other relief to settle an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
In its suit (Case No. 1:08-00548-WMN) filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland), Jacobs Technology, Inc. failed to reassign and/or hire Jerry Overbay, born in 1948, into an alternate position and subsequently discharged him, based upon supposed customer preference, because of his age. Overbay had been consistently promoted throughout his tenure with the company since 1988 and was in his late 50s at the time of his termination.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits employers from taking actions against employees 40 years and older based on age. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.
In addition to the monetary relief to Overbay, which represents back wages, the consent decree settling the suit provides that Jacobs Technology, Inc. be enjoined from engaging in any employment practices which discriminate on the basis of age (over 40), post notices stating its commitment to maintaining an environment free of age discrimination and provide mandatory training to all its managers, supervisors and other officials who participate in its hiring or reassignment decisions at its Maryland facilities, regarding federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment, particularly those concerning age discrimination.
“Ageism is a way of stereotyping and marginalizing people,” said EEOC Acting Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. “Employers have a responsibility to provide everyone the freedom to compete in the workplace on a fair and level playing field, regardless of age.”
During Fiscal Year 2008, the EEOC received a record 24,582 age discrimination charge filings, a 29 percent increase from the prior year and a 65 percent jump from the number of filings in FY 2005 (14,893).
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.