Star Tex Refused to Hire Experienced Older Applicant as a Truck Driver, Agency Says
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Star Tex Gasoline & Oil Distributors, a wholesale supplier of diesel, fuels, gasoline, lubricants, and oils based in Corpus Christi, Texas, violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) when it discriminated against a 72 year old former fire chief who sought employment as a truck driver, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.
According to the EEOC’s suit against Star Tex Gasoline & Oil Distributors, Inc. (Star Tex), the company refused to consider this former fire chief for employment after he received a referral for a truck driver position from Texas Workforce Solutions. The applicant had years of valuable experience operating tankers, eighteen wheeled vehicles and emergency vehicles. He even drove 75 foot ladder trucks during years of service as a volunteer fire fighter and as a fire department chief. Yet, when he went to apply for work, the Star Tex hiring official who met with him was focused entirely on his age rather than his qualifications and experience. According to the applicant the hiring official asked to look at his driver’s license. The applicant claims that when the interviewer looked closely at his driver’s license, he was told that he was too old to drive for the company and was not allowed to complete the hiring process.
Such alleged conduct violates the ADEA. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Corpus Christi Division (EEOC v. Star Tex Gasoline & Oil Distributors, Inc., Civil Action No. 2:11-CV-305) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. In its complaint, the EEOC seeks back pay and liquidated damages, rightful place hiring for the applicant into a comparable position or front pay in lieu thereof, as well as injunctive relief.
“This case highlights the consequences of age discrimination. By discriminating against older workers, employers deprive themselves of qualified employees who might make their companies better,” said EEOC Trial Attorney David Rivela. “Here, a company lost that opportunity based on stereotypical assumptions and now finds itself in court.”
“Given today's economic climate, older workers may choose to remain in the workforce and vie for scarce jobs," said Judith G. Taylor, Supervisory Trial Attorney for the EEOC’s San Antonio Field Office. “Too often employers simply write off veteran workers who are job seekers because of their age. Litigation is sometimes the last recourse to combat discriminatory practices.”
In fiscal year 2010, the EEOC received a total of 23,264 charges of age discrimination, which accounted for 23.3 percent of all charges filed with the EEOC nationwide.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment. Further information about the Commission is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.