DSW to Pay $900,000 to Resolve Age Discrimination Lawsuit, Training Ordered

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

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

DSW Inc., with over 10,000 employees nationwide, will pay $900,000 to end an age discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The EEOC had charged that DSW, formerly known as Designer Shoe Warehouse, discriminated against seven former management employees in its Midwest Region and a class of former employees, by firing employees over the age of 40 years old during a "reduction in force." The EEOC said the company terminated older employees because of their age and retaliated against certain employees who opposed orders to discriminate against older workers. The EEOC's complaint covered DSW's field personnel in DSW's Midwest Region and DSW's Corporate Home Office employees.

The EEOC's lawsuit was brought under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), which prohibits age discrimination in employment. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its statutory conciliation process. The case, EEOC v. DSW Inc., Civil Action No. 14-cv-07153, was filed on Sept. 15 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. EEOC Trial Attorneys Jeanne Szromba and Laura Feldman and Supervisory Trial Attorney Diane Smason litigated the case on behalf of the government.

DSW opted for a negotiated end to the case with EEOC immediately after the lawsuit was filed. U.S. District Court Judge Gary Feinerman of the Northern District of Illinois entered a consent decree resolving the lawsuit on Sept. 19, less than a week after the case was filed. The decree provides $900,000 in monetary relief to the victims and requires DSW to report to the EEOC for the next three years on all employee complaints of age discrimination arising out of the regions covered by the decree. The company must also train all its employees in these locations on the prevention and eradication of age discrimination, and also revise its anti-discrimination policy.

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