Company Fired the Two Oldest Employees in Its Sales Department, Federal Agency Charges
NEW YORK - AZ Metro Distributors, a Woodbury, N.Y.-based beverages distribution company, violated federal law by firing two employees because of their ages, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.
According to EEOC's suit, AZ Metro discharged the two oldest employees in the sales department at the ages of 64 and 66. A supervisor at AZ Metro's Brooklyn location told one of the discharged employees that the company wanted to hire younger workers and move the sales force in a different direction. Another member of management told him that it was "time to go."
Such alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age. EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. AZ Metro Distributors, LLC in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Case No. 15-CV-05370) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency seeks monetary and injunctive relief, including back wages, liquidated damages and changes in employment policies to eliminate future age-based discrimination.
"Employers cannot act on stereotypes and marginalize their older employees," said Nora Curtin, supervisory trial attorney for EEOC's New York District. "It is essential that employers assess them according to their contribution, not the year they were born."
EEOC New York District Office Director Kevin Berry added, "Not only is discrimination based on one's age unfair, it is against the law. Our agency will continue to work diligently to vigorously enforce the ADEA to the fullest extent."
Kirsten Peters, the EEOC trial attorney assigned to the case, noted, "Discrimination perpetrated against an employee late in his career can be particularly destructive given the challenge older individuals face finding work. EEOC will continue to fight this practice."
The New York District Office of EEOC oversees New York, Northern New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.
EEOC is the federal government agency responsible for enforcing federal anti-discrimination laws in the workplace. Further information about EEOC is available on the agency's website at www.eeoc.gov.