$100,000 Settlement in Age Discrimination Suit Against Company with Mandated Retirement Policy, Training Ordered

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

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

Asian World of Martial Arts, Inc., a leading mail and retail distributor of martial arts supplies based in Philadelphia, will pay $100,000 and provide other relief to settle a federal age discrimination lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced.

The EEOC charged that Asian World of Martial Arts, Inc. fired its controller, Morris Pashko, because of his age, 74, pursuant to a newly implemented retirement policy which mandated that all employees age 67 and over be terminated.  Pashko had a good performance record during his 26 years of employment with the company prior to the forced retirement. 

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age.  That protection includes, with narrow exceptions not applicable in this case, prohibiting mandatory retirement based on age.  The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Civil Action No 10-5062) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement. 

In addition to the $100,000 in monetary relief, the two-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit contains other important relief, including enjoining Asian World of Martial Arts from further engaging in age discrimination or retaliation and requiring the company to provide annual training on the ADEA and to post a notice on the settlement.  The company no longer has a mandatory retirement policy.

“As our national workforce gets older, it is vital that employers know they cannot impose unlawful mandatory retirement schemes or make employment decisions based on stereotypes about older workers,” said Spencer H. Lewis, Jr., district director for the EEOC’s Philadelphia District, which has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio.

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