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PRESS RELEASE
9-9-16

Montrose Hospital Sued by EEOC for Widespread Age Discrimination

Workers Who Dedicated Years to the Hospital Were Fired or Forced to Quit Because of Their Ages, Federal Agency Charges

DENVER - Montrose Memorial Hospital, a hospital in Montrose, western Colorado, violated federal law by firing employees or forcing them to resign because of their age, the U.S. Equal Employ­ment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today. 

According to EEOC's lawsuit, Katherine Casias worked as a licensed practical nurse and registered nurse for 27 years with the hospital before Montrose fired her, accusing her of performance defici­encies for which younger nurses were treated much more leniently. EEOC alleges that hospital managers made ageist comments, including that younger nurses could "dance around the older nurses" and that they preferred younger and "fresher" nurses. EEOC seeks relief for Casias and a group of employees, aged 40 and older, who were fired or forced to resign due to their ages.

This alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). EEOC filed its lawsuit (EEOC v. Montrose Memorial Hospital, Inc., Case No. 1:16-cv-02277 (D. Colo.)) after first attempting to resolve the matter through its pre-litigation conciliation process. The suit seeks monetary damages, including back pay and liquidated damages. EEOC also seeks injunctive relief prohibiting any future discrimination by the employers and mandating corrective action.

"Research shows that pervasive stereotypes about older workers still persist - for example, there are widespread stereotypes that older workers are less motivated, flexible, or trusting and that a younger workforce is preferable," said Phoenix District EEOC Regional Attorney Mary Jo O'Neill.  "These stereotypes are flatly untrue and must be recognized for what they are - prejudice and false assumptions."

Acting Phoenix District Director Elizabeth Cadle added, "It's sad that a dedicated nurse would serve for 27 years and then be rewarded with  age discrimination. EEOC is proud to enforce federal law against this sort of  prejudice."

EEOC's Phoenix District Office has jurisdiction over Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.