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PRESS RELEASE
5-24-11

Asian World of Martial Arts to Pay $100,000 to Settle EEOC Age Discrimination Suit

Philadelphia Company Fired Controller Because of Age, Federal Agency Said

PHILADELPHIA – Asian World of Martial Arts, Inc., a leading mail and retail distributor of martial arts supplies based in Philadelphia, will pay $100,000 and provide other relief to settle a federal age discrimination lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today.

The EEOC charged that Asian World of Martial Arts, Inc. fired its controller, Morris Pashko, because of his age, 74, pursuant to a newly implemented retirement policy which mandated that all employees age 67 and over be terminated.  Pashko had a good performance record during his 26 years of employment with the company prior to the forced retirement. 

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age.  That protection includes, with narrow exceptions not applicable in this case, prohibiting mandatory retirement based on age.  The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Civil Action No 10-5062) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement. 

In addition to the $100,000 in monetary relief, the two-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit contains other important relief, including enjoining Asian World of Martial Arts from further engaging in age discrimination or retaliation and requiring the company to provide annual training on the ADEA and to post a notice on the settlement.  The company no longer has a mandatory retirement policy.

“As our national workforce gets older, it is vital that employers know they cannot impose unlawful mandatory retirement schemes or make employment decisions based on stereotypes about older workers,” said Spencer H. Lewis, Jr., district director for the EEOC’s Philadelphia District, which has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio.

EEOC Philadelphia Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence added, “We are pleased that Asian World cooperated with the EEOC to change its retirement policy and to resolve this lawsuit.  The settlement is designed to protect all workers there from unlawful age discrimination.” 

In Fiscal Year 2010, private sector workplace discrimination charge filings with the EEOC hit an unprecedented level of 99,922, which included 23,264 charges of age discrimination.

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