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Press Release 09-28-2015

EEOC Sues City of Milpitas for Age Discrimination

City Manager Passed Over Qualified Applicants for Executive Secretary Position Due to Their Age, Federal Agency Charges

SAN FRANCISCO - The City of Milpitas in California's Silicon Valley violated federal law by choosing a younger candidate over older applicants with greater qualifications for the position of executive secretary to the city manager, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.    

According to EEOC's suit, the City of Milpitas failed to hire four qualified applicants who scored higher than the person selected in a three-person panel review of the candidates.  The individuals who were not selected were 55, 42, 56 and 58 years old.     Instead, EEOC alleges that the City of Milpitas hired a younger applicant (age 39) who was less qualified than these people, without a valid justification for disregarding the panel rankings.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age.  EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (EEOC v. City of Milpitas, Case No. 5:15-cv-04444) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.  EEOC's suit seeks, among other things, monetary damages for the four applicants and injunctive relief intended to prevent a recurrence of age discrimination in City of Milpitas government.  

"Older workers continue to face discrimination based on age due to negative stereotypes and inaccurate assumptions about their abilities," said EEOC San Francisco Acting Regional Attorney Jonathan Peck.  "It is important for employers to ensure that such stereotyping does not impact a person's ability to be employed.  Employment decisions must be based on merit, not age."

EEOC San Francisco District Director William R. Tamayo added, "Age discrimination remains a problem, making up 23 percent of all EEOC charges filed in the United States last year.  It is important that employers not ignore the value that older workers can bring to their workforce." 

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