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GE Subsidiary MRA Systems To Pay $130,000 To Settle EEOC Age Discrimination Suit

Aircraft Systems Company Refused to Promote and Retaliated Against 61-Year-Old Employee, Federal Agency Charged

BALTIMORE –Baltimore-based MRA Systems, Inc., a subsidiary  of General Electric, will pay $130,000 and provide substantial equitable relief  to settle an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment  Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

The EEOC charged  in its suit that MRA Systems gave Louis Behrendt a lower performance rating,  despite his successful job performance, because of his age, 61. The EEOC also alleged that the company failed  to assign Behrendt to a position as a Production Control Leader 5 and instead  awarded the position, which had greater salary potential, to a younger, less  qualified employee. Moreover, the  company subjected him to unfair and heightened job scrutiny, gave him poor  performance ratings and refused to promote him based on his age and in  retaliation for his internal complaints about discrimin­ation, the EEOC  charged.

The Age  Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits employers from discriminating  against individuals who are 40 or older when making employment decisions, such  as promotions, job assignments and performance ratings. The ADEA also forbids employers from  retaliating against individuals who oppose age discrimination. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for  the District of Maryland, Northern District (Civil Action Number  1:08-cv-02499-WDQ) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement out  of court through its conciliation process.

In addition  to the monetary relief to Behrendt, the three-year consent decree settling the lawsuit  contains significant remedial measures, including enjoining the company from engaging  in any employment practice which discriminates on the basis of age and  prohibiting any unlawful retaliation. MRA Systems will provide at least two hours  of mandatory training on federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination to  all managers, supervisors and other employees who participate in the  performance evaluation process or assignment decisions at its Maryland facility. The company will also post a notice on the  resolution of the lawsuit.

“Age-based  stereotypes about the abilities of older workers can result in older employees  receiving lower performance ratings, lower compensation and fewer promotional  opportunities than younger co-workers,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra  Lawrence of the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office, which oversees Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, Maryland  and parts of New Jersey and Ohio.  “We appreciate MRA Systems working with EEOC to reach a settlement that,  in addition to providing compensation to Mr. Behrendt, is intended to protect  all employees at the company’s Maryland facility from being subjected to unfair  treatment based on age.”

In Fiscal Year 2009, age-based charges  reached a total of 22,778, their second-highest level ever.

In July 2009, the EEOC held a public  hearing on age discrimination and barriers to the employment of older workers.  Additional information about the hearing can be found on the EEOC’s web site at

According  to its web site,, MRA  Systems, Inc. is one of the world's leading suppliers of jet engine thrust  reversers -- the brakes of a jet engine.  The company also produces a variety of specialized structures for major  aircraft manufacturers.

The  EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is  available at its web site at