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Press Release 06-30-2021

Telluride Express Settles EEOC Age Discrimination Case

Shuttle Company Discriminated Against Older Applicant by Refusing to Hire Him Because of Age Limits in Its Auto Insurance Policy, Federal Agency Charged

DENVER – San Miguel Mountain Ventures, LLC, which does business as Telluride Express in Montrose, Colorado, will commit to significant changes in its business practices and pay $15,000 to end an age discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s suit, Charles Webber was 79 and had more than five decades of commercial driving experience when he applied for a shuttle driver position with Telluride Express. According to the EEOC, Webber met all the qualifications Telluride Express required of younger drivers, having passed a recent Department of Transportation medical exam and having no traffic violations or accidents in the prior three years.

The EEOC also said that the day after Webber applied, Telluride Express denied his application and told him that the company’s commercial auto insurance policy would not cover him as a driver because he was too old. Further, Telluride Express knew of, agreed to, and enforced the discriminatory treatment of older applicants in its commercial auto insurance policy, and that Telluride Express did not try to find alternative methods of insuring qualified candidates like Webber, the EEOC said.

Such alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The EEOC filed suit against the company in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado as Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. San Miguel Mountain Ventures d/b/a Telluride Express, Case No. 1:20-cv-00881-RBJ in 2020.

Under the terms of the consent decree resolving the lawsuit, Telluride Express must maintain commercial automobile insurance that does not exclude drivers age 40 or older from coverage based on age and that does not apply stricter standards for coverage to drivers age 40 or older. Telluride Express must also hire an outside consultant to review and update its age discrimination policies. The company will also provide trainings on the ADEA to its managers and human resources staff, including training on age discrimination and on hiring based on qualifications, not age.

In addition, Telluride Express must provide reports to the EEOC detailing its compliance with the terms of the decree and its receipt of any complaints of age discrimination or retaliation. The decree also requires that Telluride Express pay Webber $15,000. The court will retain authority to enforce the terms of the decree for its 20-month duration.

“Employers cannot be indifferent to any discriminatory features of policies that they choose to adopt from others,” said Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill of the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Utah. “Employers are no less responsible for violating the ADEA simply because they acted based on an insurance policy that they selected from a third party.”

Amy Burkholder, the field director of the EEOC’s Denver Field Office, added, “Being under a certain age is not a qualification needed to drive a shuttle, bus, or taxi. Employers should ensure that they do not adopt insurance policies that rely on the kind of stereotypes that the ADEA was meant to combat.”

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.