U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Federal Agency Charged Company Refused to Hire Miller Because of His Age
MIAMI - Bay State Milling, a major flour and grain producer, violated federal law when it failed to hire a man for a miller position in its Indiantown, Fla., mill based on his age, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC's suit, Bay State Milling's plant manager told Gary Legore, who was 52 years old at the time, that he "did not want to waste his time" and that he was looking for a "younger" person for the position whom he could "groom." Legore had previously worked for Bay State Milling as a miller and has extensive experience in the milling industry. Ultimately, the EEOC said, the company hired a 23-year-old with little to no experience to fill the vacant miller position.
The EEOC complaint alleges that Mr. Legore was not hired for the vacant miller position because of his age. Legore complained to Bay State, but the plant manager's decision was defended by company officials, who told him that the plant manager didn't mean "younger" and that Legore was overqualified.
Such alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The EEOC filed suit (Case No. 2:12-cv-14439-DLG) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Fort Pierce Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
"Age-based stereotypes, evidenced by euphemisms like 'overqualified,' rob qualified applicants of job opportunities," said Regional Attorney Robert E. Weisberg of the Miami District Office.
The EEOC's Miami District director, Malcolm Medley, added, "Applicants often don't know that they have been discriminated against because of age. Where the EEOC finds such a violation, it will act to vigorously protect the rights of older workers to compete for available positions in the work force for which they are qualified."
According to company information, Bay State Milling is one of the largest producers of flour and grain products in the United States since 1899, and employs between approximately 200 and 500 employees nationwide at approximately nine facilities.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. The Miami District Office's jurisdiction includes Florida, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.