Experienced Production Foreman Fired Because of His Age, Federal Agency Charges
DALLAS - A 52-year old production foreman with years of industry experience was pushed out of his job at the hands of a new superintendent for Fort Worth-based Atlas Resource Partners because he preferred younger workers, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.
According to the EEOC, Atlas fired Production Foreman William Hutto despite his record of strong performance for the company. Prior to his termination, Hutto had never been disciplined. The EEOC expects to present evidence that Mr. Hutto was a strong and capable worker who was highly regarded by his peers. The EEOC claims that the production superintendent who terminated Hutto also made ageist comments regarding Hutto's co-workers, including the repeated remarks about being "too old to do the job."
Such alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, (ADEA), which prohibits employers from discriminating based on age. The EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division (EEOC v. Atlas Resource Partners, L.P., Civil Action No.3:17-CV-01582-N), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
"Mr. Hutto had the work experience and the ability to bring Atlas continued success, but top management unlawfully opted for youth over experience without respect to qualifications," said EEOC Trial Attorney Joel Clark.
EEOC Dallas District Office Regional Attorney Robert A. Canino added, "This is a straightforward case of someone being put in charge who arbitrarily decides to pull the plug on someone else's job. When that kind of action is based on a worker being in his 50s, rather than on qualifications, productivity or conduct, it not only fails to take advantage of some of a company's best assets, but violates federal law."
Atlas Resource Partners is a business that develops, acquires and manages oil and gas properties, with an interest in over 14,000 wells across 12 states, including Texas.
The EEOC, which enforces the ADEA, is observing that law's 50th anniversary this year by paying special attention to the ongoing problem of age discrimination, including a June 14 Commission meeting on the subject.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.