Senior Female Employees Were Passed Over for Credit Union's Top Job in Favor of a Younger, Male Applicant, Federal Agency Charged
FRESNO, Calif. - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today the resolution of a sex, age and retaliatory discrimination lawsuit against Tulare County-based Tucoemas Federal Credit Union. The credit union has agreed to pay $450,000, along with certain injunctive relief, to resolve the complaint.
According to the EEOC, Tucoemas failed to hire three qualified internal female applicants over the age of 50 and instead hired a younger male applicant with no prior credit union experience. The charge further claims the company retaliated against two of the female employees after they filed complaints with the EEOC, constructively forcing one employee to quit and firing another.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA). The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California on July 17 (EEOC v. Tucoemas Federal Credit Union, 1:19-cv-00896-AWI-SKO) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation agreement through its conciliation process.
In addition to monetary relief, the three-year consent decree, which sunsets at the end of the second year and remains under the court's jurisdiction during the term, includes injunctive relief intended to prevent workplace discrimination and retaliation in the future. Tucoemas has agreed to: retain an external equal employment opportunity consultant to monitor compliance with Title VII, ADEA, and the decree; review and if necessary revise policies and procedures against all discrimination and retaliation prohibited by Title VII and the ADEA; provide training to all employees on sex and age discrimination and retaliation; and establish a centralized tracking system for recruitment, hiring, promotions, terminations, and sex and age discrimination complaints, along with the monitoring of such complaints to prevent retaliation. The EEOC will monitor compliance with this agreement.
"We commend Tucoemas for its commitment to Title VII and the ADEA and for implementing measures that will have a positive impact on applicants and employees," said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC's Los Angeles District, which includes Fresno in its jurisdiction. "We encourage other employers to follow the lead of Tucoemas and review their hiring policies and practices to ensure they are in compliance with federal law."
Melissa Barrios, director of the EEOC's Fresno local office, added, "Retaliation can chill a workforce from coming forward and reporting illegal behavior. We are encouraged that Tucoemas has taken the allegations seriously and has agreed to measures that will benefit the workplace."
Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring, especially class-based recruitment and hiring practices that discriminate against racial, ethnic and religious groups, older workers, gender, and people with disabilities, is one of six national priorities identified by the Commission's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).
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.