55-Year-Old District Manager Terminated After He Complained of Age Discrimination
DENVER – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a lawsuit yesterday in federal court alleging that RadioShack intentionally discriminated against one of its employees in violation of Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).
The lawsuit alleges that in the fall of 2007, David Nelson, then 55, had been employed for over 25 years when RadioShack assigned a new, 43-year-old regional manager to supervise him. Within four months of the new supervisor’s arrival, Nelson, who had a 25-year spotless performance record, was placed on two performance improvement plans. Nelson, believing that he was being discriminated against by his new supervisor because of his age, complained to the human resources department. According to the complaint, within five days, before the allotted time for improvement was over, RadioShack terminated Nelson in retaliation for his complaint of discrimination.
“It is particularly important for the EEOC to vigorously enforce the anti-retaliation provisions in the employment discrimination laws,” said Mary Jo O’Neill, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office, whose jurisdiction includes the EEOC’s Denver Field Office. “Moreover, with the graying of the workforce, employers must understand that they may not base employment decisions on age-based stereotypes.”
The lawsuit, EEOC v. RadioShack, Civil Action #10-cv-02365, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, seeks back pay, lost benefits, liquidated damages and reinstatement for Nelson, as well as injunctive relief, including policies and programs to stop future violations of the ADEA. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to resolve the case informally through its conciliation process.
“If employees do not feel comfortable coming forward when they feel they are being discriminated against, the very purpose of the anti-discrimination statutes is eviscerated,” EEOC Phoenix Acting District Director Rayford Irvin said.
The EEOC is seeing an increase in the number of charges filed alleging retaliation. In 2009, the agency received 33,613 charges of discrimination alleging retaliation. This constituted 36 percent of the total number of charges.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.