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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission


EEOC Says City Rejected Qualified 58-Year-Old Applicant Due to Ageism

GREENSBORO, N.C. – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a discrimination lawsuit filed today that the City of Greensboro violated federal law by refusing to hire a qualified 58-year-old applicant because of his age, and instead hiring younger, less qualified applicants.

According to the EEOC’s complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. City of Greensboro, Civil Action No. 1:09-cv-00576), around June 18, 2007, Terry Pearson (then 58), applied for a position with the City of Greensboro as an Electronic Processes Specialist. The position was a technician’s position, and generally involved maintenance of the City of Greensboro’s radio communication systems for first responders. EEOC charged in the suit that although Pearson was qualified for the position, the City of Greensboro selected three substantially younger applicants, all under age 40, at least one of whom was not as qualified as Pearson. The EEOC seeks back pay and liquidated damages (double recovery) for Pearson, as well as injunctive relief.

Discrimination against persons age 40 and over violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement out of court.

“It is not only unfair for employers to make unfounded assumptions about an individual’s ability to perform based on age, it’s illegal and might subject employers to federal lawsuits,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Lynette A. Barnes of the agency’s Charlotte District Office. “Federal law ensures that everyone, including older persons, has the right to participate and advance in the workplace without discriminatory barriers. Older workers bring invaluable experience and knowledge to the workplace which should not be overlooked by employers due to age-based stereotypes.”

Earlier this month, the Commission held a public hearing on age discrimination and barriers to the employment of older workers. Additional information about the hearing can be found on the EEOC’s web site at

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at

This page was last modified on July 31, 2009.

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