Blinded Veterans Association to Pay $150,123 to Two Employees to Settle Age Discrimination Lawsuit

Monday, October 5, 2015

Blinded Veterans Association (BVA), a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit that provides services to blind veterans, will pay $150,123 and furnish significant equitable relief to settle an age discrimination lawsuit.

According to EEOC's lawsuit, BVA officials repeatedly questioned two longstanding emp­loyees about their retirement plans and later purportedly reclassified their jobs in an effort to fire them and replace them with younger workers. At the time of his termination, Lazaro Martinez was 76 years old and had worked for BVA for 34 years, most recently as the assistant national field service director in BVA's Mather, Calif., office. When Martinez applied for a newly created national field service job, BVA refused to consider him because of his age and selected someone over 40 years younger, EEOC charged.

Suzanne Matthews, then age 70, had worked for BVA for about 15 years when she was ter­minated from her position as an administrative assistant to the national director of field service in Washington, D.C. She reapplied for a newly created position for which she was qualified, but BVA selected a significantly younger and less experienced employee because of Mathews' age, according to the lawsuit.

Such conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Blinded Veterans Association, Civil Action No. 1:14-cv-02102-RDM) in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to the $150,123 in monetary relief to Martinez and Matthews, the three-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit enjoins BVA from discriminating based on age in the future. BVA will provide training on the ADEA's prohibitions against age discrimination to all management and human resources employees. BVA will also report to EEOC about its compliance with the consent decree, including how it handled any internal complaints of age discrimination, and it will post a notice about employees' rights under the ADEA.

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