The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

PRESS RELEASE
9-22-09

SOUTHERN METALS COMPANY SUED BY EEOC FOR AGE DISCRIMINATION

Charlotte Metal Recycling Company Rejected Qualified 76-Year-Old Applicant Because of His Age, Federal Agency Charges

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a discrimination lawsuit it filed today that Southern Metals Company, a Charlotte metal recycling company, violated federal law by refusing to hire a qualified 76-year-old applicant because of his age.

According to the EEOC’s complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, Charlotte Division (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Southern Metals Company, Civil Action No. 3:09-cv-410), around June 16, 2008, Junior Revels (then 76) applied for the position of diesel mechanic at Southern Metals. Although Revels was qualified for the position, Southern Metals refused to hire him stating it was looking for someone “younger.” The EEOC claims that Southern Metals continued to seek applicants for the position, and ultimately hired an individual who was substantially younger than Revels, and who was less qualified.

Discrimination against persons age 40 and over because of age violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement out of court. The agency seeks back pay and liquidated damages (double recovery) for Revels, as well as injunctive relief.

“The EEOC continues to see cases where employers refuse to allow older workers to maintain their station in the workplace, based solely on their age,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Lynette A. Barnes of the agency’s Charlotte District Office. “Federal law ensures that older workers have the right to participate in the workplace regardless of age. These protections are even more important during these harsh economic times.”

Supervisory Trial Attorney Tina Burnside of the agency’s Charlotte District Office added, “Under the law, employers are required to evaluate and hire people based on their qualifications and not their age.”

Earlier this summer, the EEOC held a public hearing on age discrimination and barriers to the employment of older workers. Additional information about the hearing can be found on the EEOC’s web site at http://www.eeoc.gov/abouteeoc/meetings/7-15-09/index.html.

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

This page was last modified on September 22, 2009.

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