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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
8-4-11

Collegiate Development Services Settles EEOC Lawsuit For Age Bias And Retaliation

Property Manager Fired Because of Her Age, Federal Agency Charged

DALLAS – An Irving,  Texas developer of housing  facilities has agreed to pay $50,000 and furnish other relief to settle an age discrimination  and retaliation lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity  Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

The EEOC had charged that Collegiate  Development Services’ director of  market research expressed to the assistant property manager that property  manager Velda (“Charlie”) Poole, 62 years of  age, was too old to connect with the college-age residents. When Poole  learned of the age-based comment and informed higher management, she was fired  within weeks. The assistant manager,  Sarah Jones, objected to the firing of Poole  only to be terminated herself in retaliation, the EEOC said.

Discriminating against an individual  because of his or her age violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act  (ADEA). The EEOC filed suit lawsuit  (Civil Action No. 1-10-cv-232-J) in U.S. District Court for the Northern  District of Texas, Amarillo Division after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation  settlement through its conciliation process.

“Discriminatory assumptions about  age in today’s workplaces only serve to limit an employer’s ultimate breadth of  business potential,” said Robert Canino, regional attorney for the EEOC’s  Dallas Office. “Punishing people for  standing up to prejudice and thus depriving them of their earnings, despite  demonstrated performance, takes unlawful conduct from bad to worse.”

A consent decree settling the suit  was signed by U.S. District Court Judge Mary Lou Robinson on August 2,  2011. In it, the company is to pay  $50,000 to the victims and to provide training to managers and supervisors on  equal employment opportunity (EEO) policies and procedures, including on  age discrimination and retaliation. The  company is also required to establish and enforce a written policy and  procedure that will ensure protections and fair treatment for employees.

EEOC Senior Trial Attorney William  C. Backhaus said, “Employers must avoid the stereotyping of managers as well as  non-management employees with preconceived notions about age. This employer wrongly assumed that Ms.  Poole’s age interfered with her ability to connect with younger student  residents. To the contrary, our  information showed that the students greatly appreciated Ms. Poole.”

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