Meenan Oil to Pay $80,000 to Settle EEOC AGE Discrimination Lawsuit

Friday, May 15, 2009
A Tullytown, Pa., distributor of home heating oil has agreed to pay $80,000 and provide significant equitable relief to settle an age discrimination lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced. The EEOC charged in its lawsuit that Meenan Oil Company unlawfully fired sales representative Louis Ceccoli of Langhorne, Pa., because of his age, 71.

According to the allegations in the EEOC's lawsuit, Meenan's sales manager made several derogatory comments demonstrating a bias against older workers, including stating that he would like to "remove all the older representatives and replace them with younger employees," repeatedly asking Ceccoli about his retirement plans and commenting that he would retire if he were "as old as" Ceccoli. The EEOC said the sales manager also took sales leads and sales territory from Ceccoli. After the discharge, Meenan Oil replaced Ceccoli with a substantially younger employee.

It is a violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) to treat an employee who is 40 or older less favorably than younger individuals or to terminate him based on age. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 08-cv-5146, in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to the $80,000 in monetary relief for Ceccoli, the three-year consent decree settling the suit requires Meenan to provide anti-discrimination training to all supervisory and management personnel, to require supervisors and managers to oversee their work areas in compliance with company policies against discrimination and retaliation, and to post a notice about the resolution of the lawsuit. Meenan did not admit liability in the consent decree, which is pending judicial approval.

"More than 40 years after the passage of the ADEA, age discrimination charges represent one of the fastest-growing types of complaints filed with the EEOC nationally," said District Director Marie M. Tomasso of the EEOC's Philadelphia District Office. "The EEOC will take action if older employees are illegally forced out of a job based on age."
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