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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
3-23-10

Red Rock Western Jeep Tours Settles Age Discrimination Case

Sedona Tour Operator Unlawfully Fired 75-year-old Because of Age, Federal Agency Charged

PHOENIX –  Red Rock Western Jeep Tours, Inc. has been ordered by a consent decree to pay  $35,000 to settle an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the  agency announced today.

The settlement ends a lawsuit filed  by the EEOC against Red Rock in September 2009  in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona (Case No. 3:09-CV-8147- DKD). In the lawsuit, the EEOC charged  that Red Rock, which operates jeep tours in Sedona, Ariz.,  fired Gloria Rose, a reservationist, because of her age.

According to the EEOC, Rose was  hired and told to return a “new hire” packet, which contained various forms such  as tax and direct deposit forms. When  Rose returned the forms the next day, a supervisor met with her and, among  other things, asked Rose for her age.  Rose responded that she was 75 years old. After that meeting, Rose did not hear from  Red Rock for several days. Rose sent an  e-mail to Red Rock inquiring as to when her start date would be. Red Rock responded that the general manager  and supervisor did not think Rose was “the right person” for the job. Rose responded with an e-mail inquiring as to  how they could make that determination without actually seeing her work  product. Rose informed Red Rock that she  believed she had been discriminated against on the basis of her age.

After receiving this e-mail, Red  Rock then decided to hire her, only to terminate her after only two days of  work, the EEOC said. Rose was not even  trained for the full two days as she was sent on several jeep tours lasting  several hours. The EEOC further alleged  that Red Rock replaced Rose by substantially younger employees.

As part  of the decree settling the suit, Red Rock is mandated to adopt an  anti-discrimination policy and to provide anti-discrimination training for all  of its employees involved in the hiring process. Red Rock is also enjoined from  engaging in any further age discrimination or retaliation.

“Companies cannot terminate or refuse  to hire qualified older workers because of their age; it is illegal and  violates federal law,” said EEOC Phoenix Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill. “Some employers seem to be tempted to hire younger  workers for jobs which entail interacting with the public on behalf of the  company. However, a company which fails to hire or terminates qualified workers  because of their age does so at its peril because such actions may be unlawful.”

EEOC Acting Phoenix District Director Julie  Bowman said, “Because of the EEOC’s nationwide jurisdiction, the EEOC will attempt  to eradicate discrimination wherever it is found. In small or large towns across the United States, we  encourage all workers who believe they have been discriminated against on the  basis of their age to come forward and present their claims of discrim­ination  to the EEOC.”

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)  forbids discrimination against applicants and employees who are 40 years old or  older. Employers, therefore, must not  harass, fail to hire, fail to promote, layoff, terminate, or otherwise  discriminate against persons who are 40 years old or older because of age.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting  employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on  its web site at www.eeoc.gov.