Older Males Let Go in Favor of Younger Females, Federal Agency Charged
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Maryland-based security firm Trinity Protection Services violated federal law by dismissing older males and favoring younger females for armed security guard positions in Sacramento, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
In late February 2008, Trinity discharged armed security guard William Clark, age 73, along with three other men and three women, because of their scores on an arms requalification shoot. While the men were told to wait six months before taking the requalification test again, the women were called approximately a month later and invited to come in and re-qualify. The men ranged in age from 66 to 73, while the women were ages 28, 29 and 50. Trinity asserted that it brought the younger women back early because it was “hurting for employees.” However, the EEOC’s investigation found that the company did not extend the same invitation to reapply to the older men.
“I had worked at the same job with other federal contractors since 1990 and never had a problem,” said Clark. “When Trinity took over the contract, they apparently decided to push out the older male workers in favor of younger females. I am glad that the EEOC recognized this injustice and is taking the case forward.”
Discrimination based on age violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and discrimination based on gender violates Title VII of Civil Rights Act of 1964. After first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through conciliation, the EEOC filed the lawsuit (EEOC v. Trinity Protection Services, Inc.) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, and seeks monetary damages on behalf of Clark, training on anti-discrimination laws, and other steps to prevent future discrimination.
EEOC San Francisco Regional Attorney William R. Tamayo said, “Workers are staying in the work force longer, particularly in the current economic climate. Employers should not be pushing out experienced workers just because of their age.”
EEOC San Francisco District Director Michael Baldonado added, “Taking the initiative to diversify your work force in terms of gender cannot be done at the expense of the rights of other employees. Trinity’s invitation to requalify should have been extended to all the workers affected, not just the younger women.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.