$600,000 Settlement in Age Discrimination Case By Rubber Product Manufacturer, Training Ordered

Friday, December 18, 2015

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

Tepro, Inc., a manufacturer of rubber products for the automotive industry, will pay $600,000 and provide other relief to settle a class age discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

According to EEOC's complaint, (EEOC v. Tepro, Inc., Civil Action No. 4:12-cv-00075), filed on Nov. 15, 2012 in the Eastern District of Tennessee, Winchester Division, Tepro discriminated against a class of employees when it subjected the individuals to layoff because of their age. Specifically, EEOC alleged Tepro reclassified employees in the protected age group, age 40 and over, from "Tech II" to "Tech III" positions -through the use of misrepresentations, coercion, or threats - and that this reclassification resulted in the reclassified employees losing their seniority dates and ultimately being laid off. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

Besides requiring the company to pay $600,000 to the 25 class members, the two-year consent decree approved by U.S. District Judge Harry S. Mattice, the presiding judge, resolving the case:

  • enjoins Tepro from laying off employees because of their age in the future;
  • requires that Tepro develop a new layoff policy;
  • requires that Tepro develop a new age discrimination policy;
  • requires Tepro to provide annual training on age discrimination to all employees in its Winchester, Tenn. facility;
  • requires a high-level executive of Tepro to appear at the conclusion of the training in person or via video conference to announce Tepro's non-discrimination age policy and the consequences for violating such policy;
  • allows EEOC to monitor and review compliance with the consent decree; and
  • requires Tepro to post a notice of the resolution of the lawsuit in the workplace.

TEPRO is a Tennessee corporation and subsidiary of the Kinugawa Rubber Industrial Co., a Japanese manufacturer of automotive parts with overseas facilities.  TEPRO supplies automotive parts for various automobile manufacturers. 

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