U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
County Road Department Workers Older Than 60 Years Old Targeted During Layoffs
ATLANTA - Fannin County, Ga., violated federal law when it selected employees for layoffs due to their age, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed recently.
According to the EEOC's suit, Fannin County violated federal law by firing employees older than 60 because of their age while retaining younger employees. According to the EEOC's complaint, Fannin County conducted a reduction-in-force in its Road Department in November 2011. Of the 11 employees selected for the layoff, seven were older than 60, and four were younger than 60. The complaint alleges that within a few months of the layoff, Fannin County re-hired three of the four employees younger than 60 who had been laid off, but did not re-hire any of the employees older than 60 years old.
These alleged actions violate the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which requires employers to not discriminate against employees age 40 or older because of their age. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Fannin County, Georgia, Civil Action No. 2:13-cv-00225) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Gainesville Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC is seeking back pay and liquidated damages for the employees, as well as injunctive relief designed to prevent future discrimination.
"An employer cannot terminate an employee on the basis of his age," said Robert Dawkins, regional attorney for the EEOC's Atlanta District Office. "Here, the facts strongly indicated that Fannin County targeted employees older than 60 when it selected employees for a layoff. The EEOC will fight for the rights of older workers, as we are doing in this suit."
The Atlanta District Office of the EEOC oversees Georgia and parts of South Carolina. The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.