Company Rescinds Job Offer After Learning Attorney's Age And Bans Her for Complaining About Ageism, Federal Agency Says
NEW YORK - Strategic Legal Solutions, a national legal staffing and legal project management services firm, violated federal law when it rejected a 70-year-old attorney when it discovered her age and told her it would never hire her after she questioned if the rejection was because of her age, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.
According to the EEOC's suit, Strategic Legal Solutions offered a New York-based attorney temporary work on a project in Michigan. The attorney accepted, and then Strategic Legal Solutions asked for her date of birth. Within 90 minutes of receiving the attorney's date of birth, the company called to withdraw the offer, alleging she could not possibly arrive at the worksite in time to begin work on the next day. The attorney questioned whether the real reason the company suddenly withdrew its offer was because of her age. In response, the company told her she would be placed on a "do not use" list and she need not apply for future work assignments with Strategic Legal Solutions.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits age-based discrimination against employees or applicants who are 40 years of age or older. The ADEA also prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee or applicant who complains about age discrimination. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Strategic Legal Resources, Inc., d/b/a Strategic Legal Solutions, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Case No. 14-CV-7762) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
The EEOC's suit seeks monetary relief for the discrimination victim as well as court injunctions intended to educate the company about its obligations under the ADEA, remedy past discrimination and retaliation, and prevent future ADEA violations.
Robert D. Rose, regional attorney for the EEOC's New York District, pointed out that last year, 22.8% of all complaints filed with the EEOC nationwide included an allegation of age discrimination, and 41.1% included an allegation of retaliation.
"It is time to send a clear message to employers: Neither age discrimination nor retaliation for making a discrimination complaint will be tolerated," said Rose.
Kirsten Peters, the EEOC trial attorney assigned to the case, said, "More and more Americans are working past the age of 65, and they have a right to do so free of ageism."
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). Eradicating discriminatory hiring practices is another national priority under the SEP.
The New York District Office of the EEOC oversees New York, Northern New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
The EEOC is the federal government agency responsible for enforcing federal antidiscrimination laws in the workplace. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency's website at www.eeoc.gov.