71-Year-Old Lifeguard Receives Full Back Pay After Being Fired Because of Age
NEW YORK – Nassau County on Long Island will pay $65,000 to settle an age discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
The EEOC had charged that Nassau County discriminated against Jay Lieberfarb, a 71-year-old lifeguard with 50 years of experience. The EEOC’s suit said that Nassau County first suspended Lieberfarb after he failed a swim test and then discharged him from his lifeguard position before he was given the chance to complete a retest. Younger lifeguards, on the other hand, were not suspended or discharged, and instead were permitted to continue working despite failing the same swim test, the EEOC said.
Such alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to the $65,000 in back pay to be paid to Lieberfarb, the three-year consent decree resolving the case (EEOC v. Nassau County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Museums, and Nassau County, Civil Action No. CV 10-4471 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York) includes injunctive relief enjoining Nassau County from any further age discrimination or any retaliation for taking part in an EEOC investigation; revision of Nassau County’s non-discrimination policy; anti-discrimination training; posting of a notice about the EEOC and the lawsuit; monitoring; and reporting to the federal agency.
“Employers must be mindful of age discrimination and take steps to prevent it,” stated Mr. Kevin J. Berry, EEOC New York District Director. “Employers cannot treat their older workers less favorably than their younger employees – they must be treated in the same manner as all others.”
EEOC’s Trial Attorney Konrad Batog, assigned to the case, added, “Mr. Lieberfarb dedicated his life to the lifeguard profession and deserved the same treatment that younger lifeguards received. This consent decree will provide Mr. Lieberfarb with all of his lost wages and help make sure that other older employees of Nassau County are treated no differently than their younger counterparts.”
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.