A Melville insurance brokerage has agreed to pay $300,000 in back wages to settle a lawsuit accusing it of age-based harassment, discrimination and retaliation against three former employees. The suit was filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in July 2013.
The EEOC’s lawsuit charged that the company’s management made discriminatory age-related comments and refused to promote one of the claimants based on her age.
The agency also said that the employer terminated two employees based on their age and fired a third claimant within three days after an internal meeting with her about her discrimination complaint. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) makes it illegal to discriminate against those 40 and older. Retaliation against employees who file discrimination claims is also illegal.
In addition to monetary payments, the resolution requires PJP Health to take steps to prevent future age-based harassment, discrimination or retaliation, including conducting training for all employees and management, reporting any complaints and the company’s responses to the EEOC and posting a notice informing employees about the settlement.
The EEOC said it took on the case because of the “egregious” nature of the discrimination. It said a supervisor of complainant Doreen Moore, who was 45 at the time, told her, “You need more make-up because of your wrinkles.” Moore, who worked in the sales-support unit, was denied a promotion in favor of a much younger and less experienced worker, the agency said. After complaining, Moore was terminated, said the EEOC.
EEOC senior trial attorney Sunu P. Chandy said, “Our hope is that supervisors, particularly younger ones, as was the case here, do not continue to feel emboldened to harass and terminate older employees.”
Unfortunately cases such as these happen all too often. If you or a loved one believe you have been victim to unfair labor practices, including age discrimination, contact an experienced employment attorney. A skilled attorney will afford you the representation you deserve and ensure your legal rights are protected.