Health Insurance Broker Harassed and Discharged Employees Because of Their Age, Federal Agency Charges
NEW YORK - A health insurance broker with offices in Melville, Lake Success and Garden City violated federal law by subjecting three employees over 40 to age-based discrimination including harassment, failure to promote, termination, and retaliation for complaining of age discrimination, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
The EEOC charged that PJP Health Agency, Inc. (formerly known as Health and Life Direct Agency, Inc., Health and Life Agency, Inc. and also known as Philip Teseo Senior and Philip Teseo Senior Insurance) subjected its only three administrative staff members who were over age 40 to offensive age-based comments such as, "Get it together you f**king old people" and "You need to wear more make-up because of your wrinkles" and "Look at that old f**k." The EEOC's Complaint asserts that although PJP Health was aware of the harassment and discrimination through numerous complaints of age discrimination, the company failed to take appropriate action to investigate and correct the hostile work environment as required by law.
In addition, the Commission alleges that PJP Health failed to promote a 45 year old woman because of her age and later retaliated against her by terminating her three days after meeting with her about her complaint of age discrimination, and that PJP Health terminated two men based on their ages, 57 and 61.
Age discrimination and retaliation for complaining about such discrimination violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. PJP Health Agency, Inc., Civil Number 2:13-cv-04092in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The federal agency seeks to eliminate these discriminatory practices through injunctive relief to prevent future discrimination and to compensate the employees for lost wages and other monetary damages.
Sunu P. Chandy, EEOC Senior Trial Attorney stated: "No one should have to choose between harassment because of age or losing a job for speaking out."
Regional Attorney Elizabeth Grossman added: "Though progress has been made, age discrimination is still a very real problem in the American workforce. We are dedicated to protecting workers 40 and over who are subject to improper and illegal stereotyping."
Eliminating policies and practices that discourage or prohibit individuals from exercising their rights under employment discrimination statutes, or that impede the EEOC's investigative or enforcement efforts, is one of six national priorities identified by the Commission's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP), and preventing workplace harassment through systemic litigation and investigation is another agency national priority.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information about the EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.