$187,000 Awarded to RadioShack Employee for Age Discrimination and Retaliation

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) won a victory in federal court in Denver in its employment discrimination lawsuit against major communications equipment retailer RadioShack. A unanimous jury of nine decided that RadioShack intentionally fired an employee in retaliation for his complaints about age discrimination.

According to the EEOC's suit, in the fall of 2007, David Nelson, then 55, had been employed for more than 25 years when RadioShack assigned a new, 43-year-old regional manager to supervise him. Within four months of the new supervisor's arrival at the regional office in Denver, Nelson, who had a spotless performance record, was placed on two performance improvement plans. Nelson believed that he was being discriminated against by his new supervisor because of his age and he complained to the human resources department about the discrimination. Within five days of the first complaint, before the period for assessing the improvement in his performance had expired, RadioShack terminated Nelson in retaliation for his discrimination complaint.

Age discrimination and retaliation for complaining about it violate the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. 

The lawsuit, EEOC v. RadioShack, Civil Action #10-cv-02365, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, sought back pay, lost benefits, liquidated damages and reinstatement for Nelson. The Denver jury awarded Nelson $187,000 in back pay on the retaliation claim and found that this conduct by RadioShack was willful. Federal Court Judge Lewis T. Babcock will decide several issues in the near future, including liquidated damages, which is double back pay, since the jury found the behavior to be willful. The judge will also determine whether front pay is appropriate and, if so, the amount of front pay, as well as equitable relief.  

According to company information, Fort Worth-based RadioShack employs 32,000 people globally. RadioShack's retail network includes approximately 4,700 company-operated stores in the United States and Mexico, 1,500 wireless phone centers in the United States, and approximately 1,100 dealers and other outlets worldwide.

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