Country Club Unlawfully Fired Groundskeeper Because of His Age, Federal Agency Charges
PHILADELPHIA - Llanerch Country Club (LCC), in Havertown, Pa., violated federal law by discriminating against a long-term groundskeeper because of his age, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the suit, the groundskeeper was the oldest member of LCC's grounds maintenance department and had worked for the country club since 2004 without any discipline or performance problems. In December 2016, when he was 59 years old, LCC temporarily laid off the groundskeeper for the winter season. Approximately one month later, LCC posted a job announcement for nine groundskeeper positions. EEOC charges that LCC informed the groundskeeper he would not be rehired to his position in spring 2017 because the country club was "looking to take the staff in a younger direction." Less than three weeks later, LCC hired nine significantly younger groundskeepers, many of whom were 20 or 30 years his junior. In addition, LCC continued to employ other younger groundskeepers.
Such alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), which prohibits discrimination based on a person's age. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Llanerch Country Club, Civil Action No. 18-cv-4167) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania after first attempting to reach a pre-suit settlement through the EEOC's conciliation process.
"Older workers are often forced out of their jobs because of age-based stereotypes, particularly in physically demanding fields such as landscaping where there tends to be a discriminatory preference for younger workers," said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence of the agency's Philadelphia District Office. "No worker should lose employment opportunities because of such pervasive stereotypes and discrimination."
"The ADEA has prohibited age discrimination in employment for 50 years now," said the EEOC Philadelphia District Director Jamie Williamson. "The EEOC is committed to vigorously enforcing this important statute. Employers need to understand they cannot make hiring and firing decisions based on illegal motives such as age."
The EEOC's Philadelphia District Office has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Delaware and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.