Press Release 04-01-2020

EEOC Sues Telluride Express for Age Discrimination

Company Refused to Hire Driver Because of His Age, Federal Agency Charges

DENVER - San Miguel Mountain Ventures, LLC, which does business as Telluride Express in Montrose, Colo.,violated federal law when it refused to hire an applicant because of his age, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Charles Webber was over the age of 75 with more than five decades of commercial driving experience when he sent Telluride Express an application for a shuttle driver position. The next day, Telluride Express denied Webber's application because it had purchased a commercial auto insurance policy that provided no coverage for shuttle drivers age 75 and older.

The EEOC further charged that Webber met all the qualifications required of younger drivers, having passed a recent Department of Transportation medical exam and having no traffic violations or accidents in the last three years. In the years since Telluride Express refused to hire him, Webber has worked as a driver with no accidents or citations. The EEOC charges in its lawsuit that Telluride Express knew of, agreed to, and enforced the discriminatory treatment of older applicants in its commercial auto insurance policy, and that the company did nothing to find alternative methods of insuring qualified candidates like Webber.

The EEOC alleges such conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The EEOC sued in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado (EEOC v. San Miguel Mountain Ventures, LLC, Civil Action No. 1:20-cv-00881) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The lawsuit seeks monetary damages for Webber as well as injunctive relief prohibiting Telluride Express from discrimin­ating based on age in the future.

"The ADEA clearly prohibits refusing to hire a qualified candidate because of his age," said Regional Attorney Mary Jo O'Neill of the EEOC's Phoenix District Office. "Job seekers should be evaluated based on their qualifications, not their age."

EEOC Denver Field Director Amy Burkholder added, "The ADEA is there because older workers can and do contribute to our national economy, including as drivers of buses, taxis and ride shares. This law prohibits employers from depriving candidates of an equal opportunity to contribute because of their age, and the EEOC will keep diligently enforcing it."

The EEOC's Phoenix District Office has jurisdiction for Colorado, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming and part of New Mexico.

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.