EEOC Says County Attempted to Force Out Senior Marine Bureau Police Officers
NEW YORK - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced that Nassau County on Long Island will pay $450,000 and agree to significant injunctive relief to settle an age discrimination lawsuit on behalf of several police officers in the Marine Bureau.
In its lawsuit, the EEOC asserted that Nassau County discriminated against Lawrence Coleman, Arthur D’Alessandro, Robert Macaulay, and Joseph Petrella (charging parties) in violation of the Age Discrimination In Employment Act (ADEA). Specifically, EEOC states that on or about July 27, 2006, the county transferred the charging parties out of their Marine Bureau positions and into precincts that were less desirable and replaced them with younger officers.
As a result of the discriminatory transfers, Coleman and Macaulay were forced out of their jobs (constructively discharged) and D’Alessandro and Petrella continued to work in precincts that were less favorable to them. The charging parties’ files contained numerous positive commendations from the public throughout their employment with Nassau County. Moreover, their files contained no negative performance evaluations prior to their transfer or at any time.
“Employers must be mindful of age discrimination and take steps to prevent it, particularly with the graying of the labor force,” said EEOC New York District Director Spencer Lewis. “All individuals deserve the freedom to compete in the workplace based on merit and ability, regardless of age.”
The consent decree resolving the litigation provides $450,000 in total for the charging parties as well as injunctive relief, including anti-discrimination training for more than 400 supervisors and managers in the Nassau County Police Department. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on September 24, 2007 (Civil Action No. 07 CV 3980), after the EEOC investigated the case, found that discrimination had occurred, and attempted to reach a voluntary settlement out of court.
“The EEOC hopes this settlement encourages employers to think twice before subtly or overtly pushing senior employees towards retirement in order to save money, or for any other illegal purpose based on age,” said Sunu P. Chandy, the EEOC attorney on the case.
Arthur D’Alessandro, one of the charging parties added, “This experience has been disheartening and embarrassing to our reputations. We all dedicated our lives to this profession and we deserve to be treated with dignity instead of being humiliated in this way. We appreciate the efforts of the EEOC staff that spent many hours resolving our case. It is good to know that because of the efforts of this agency, others in our position will not be treated this way.”
During Fiscal Year 2007, the EEOC received 19,103 age discrimination charge filings, a 15% increase from the prior year and the largest annual increase since FY 2002. The Age Discrimination In Employment Act (ADEA) protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age. The ADEA’s protections apply to both employees and job applicants. Under the ADEA, it is unlawful to discriminate against a person because of his/her age with respect to any term, condition, or privilege of employment, including hiring, firing, promotion, layoff, compensation, benefits, job assignments, and training.
The EEOC also enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin and disability. Further information is available on EEOC’s web site at www.eeoc.gov.
This page was last modified on October 23, 2008.
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