$400,000 Settlement in Age Discrimination Lawsuit, Training Ordered

Monday, May 14, 2012

Question:  Would age discrimination training have prevented this case?  See our trainings at http://www.hrclassroom.com.

Central Freight Lines Inc. has agreed to settle an age discrimination lawsuit  brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for  $400,000.00 to be paid to eight former dockworkers.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit  (Civil Action No. 3-10-cv-1954-K in U.S. District Court for the Northern  District of Texas, Dallas Division), Central Freight Lines, Inc. discriminated  against Ricky Curry, John Bean, Paul Elwell, Richard Harris, James Thurmond,  Keith Vessels, Purvis Carter and Reynaldo Tijerina by selecting them for  termination because of their age in an August 31, 2007, reduction in  force. The EEOC charged that the company  used a reduction-in-force as a ruse to fire eight dockworkers, some of whom had  worked at the company for 20 or more years and were approximately 50 years old  and older.

A consolidated suit filed by the  EEOC and the private parties alleged that workers were called names like  “grandpa,” “old farts” and “old bastards” by their supervisor, who also had  been tasked with preparing a list of the men to be terminated. According to the  EEOC, the company also changed its attendance and disciplinary policy so that  the men, who had not had more than a few disciplinary write-ups, were suddenly put  on corrective action and eligible for termination under the new policy.

The  company then replaced the older employees with younger hires.

Discriminating against an  individual because of his or her age violates The Age Discrimination in  Employment Act (“ADEA”) of 1967. The  EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement. On the first day of a scheduled eight-day  trial, the attorneys for the parties reached agreement to settle the case by  Consent Decree filed with the Court and signed by U.S. District Court Judge Ed  Kinkeade on May 9, 2012.

In the Consent Decree, the company  agreed to pay $400,000 to the claimants and to train management and supervisory  personnel at the Central Freight Dallas and Ft.Worth Terminals on equal  employment opportunity policies and procedures.  The company will also commit to enforce a written policy against age  discrimination.

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