Telecom Giant Fired 16-Year Employee Due to Age, Federal Agency Charged
KANSAS CITY - Telecommunications giant AT&T will pay $250,000 and furnish other relief to settle an age discrimination suit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
According to the EEOC's suit, in the fall of 2008, AT&T fired Terry Pierce from its Lee's Summit, Mo., facility because of her age. Pierce, who had been employed by the company for 16 years as sales coach manager, was 53 years old when AT&T discharged her, while at the same time retaining younger, lower-performing sales coach managers or allowing them to transfer.
Such alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri (EEOC v. AT&T, Case No. 4:11-cv-990-DW) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to the monetary relief, the company agreed to redistribute its anti-discrimination policy with a message from its EEO director reaffirming the company's commitment to the policy; provide anti-discrimination training; and report to the EEOC on complaints of age discrimination and terminations of persons over 40.
"Age discrimination is a serious problem, especially in times of economic downturn," said Barbara A. Seely, Regional Attorney of the EEOC's St. Louis District Office. "Not only do victims of age bias lose their jobs unjustly, they often are unable to find new jobs for the same reason. The EEOC will defend people's rights to be treated fairly by employers."
AT&T, Inc. is an American multinational telecommunications corporation headquartered in Dallas. As of May 2013, AT&T was the 21st largest company in the world by market value. The current AT&T reconstitutes much of the former Bell system and includes ten of the original 22 Bell operating companies.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.