Town Government Fired Older Administrator Because of Age, Federal Agency Charged
BALTIMORE – The town of Elkton, Md., the county seat for Cecil County, violated federal law when it fired a the assistant town administrator/finance director because of his age, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.
According to EEOC’s suit (Civil Action No. 1-10-cv-2541-JFM, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Northern Division), the town of Elkton fired Andrew P. Johnson because of his age, 70. Johnson, who was hired in January 1999 as the assistant town administrator and finance director, was described in his performance evaluations by his supervisor, the town administrator, as “innovative” and “aggressive” in his performance. Through Johnson’s efforts, the Town of Elkton received a national award for excellence in accounting. He instituted initiatives to aggressively collect funds owed to the town, thereby increasing its revenues. He was replaced by two younger individuals, one in her twenties and the other in his forties.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement. The complaint seeks monetary and injunctive relief, including back wages, liquidated damages and changes in employment policies to eliminate future age-based discrimination.
“Ageism is a way of stereotyping and marginalizing people – it is unjust and illegal,” said Regional Attorney Debra S. Lawrence of EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office, which has jurisdiction over Maryland. “Employers have a responsibility to provide everyone the freedom to compete fairly in the workplace regardless of age.”
During fiscal year 2009, there were 22,778 age discrimination charges filed with the EEOC.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available at its web site at www.eeoc.gov.