Longtime Workers Were Fired or Forced to Quit Due to Their Age, Federal Agency Charged
MONTROSE, Colo. -- Montrose Memorial Hospital will pay $400,000 and furnish other relief to settle an age discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
Montrose violated federal law when 29 employees, aged 40 and older, were fired or forced to resign, the EEOC said. The longtime employees, many with 10 to 20 or more years of work history at the hospital, were fired for supposed performance deficiencies for which younger employees were treated more leniently.
The EEOC suit also alleged that hospital managers made ageist comments, including that younger nurses could "dance around the older nurses" and that they preferred younger and "fresher" nurses.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects individuals 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age. The EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado (EEOC v. Montrose Memorial Hospital, Inc., Case No. 1:16-cv-02277-WYD-GPG (D. Colo.)) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to monetary damages, the consent decree settling the suit requires Montrose to conduct annual anti-discrimination training for its employees, managers, supervisors and human resources employees. Montrose will also revise and distribute its anti-discrimination policy, and report to EEOC any complaints of age discrimination. The court approved the settlement and will retain jurisdiction for purposes of compliance for three years.
"The ADEA is clear - age-based discrimination is prohibited by federal law," said EEOC Regional Attorney Mary Jo O'Neill. "As we mark the 50th anniversary of the ADEA this year, the EEOC remains committed to the elimination of age discrimination in the workplace."
EEOC Phoenix District Director Elizabeth Cadle said, "This resolution is an excellent result for the discrimination victims in this case, who will receive compensation, and for all current hospital employees, who we expect will see an improved working environment where they will not be mistreated based on their age."
The EEOC's Phoenix District Office has jurisdiction over Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.