Maintenance Company Fired or Failed to Rehire Older Workers, Federal Agency Charged
Raleigh, N.C. – Liberty Support Services, Inc., a Raleigh-based North Carolina corporation that maintains state-owned rest areas through contracts with the North Carolina Department of Transportation, will pay $39,139 and provide other relief to settle an age discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
The EEOC had charged that Liberty Support violated federal law when it fired or refused to rehire four rest area attendants employed at the Cherokee County Rest Area. In 2016, the state closed the rest area for renovations and the attendants expected to return to their jobs when renovations were completed. Five months later, the attendants – all of whom were over the age of 40 – learned they had been discharged and replaced with substantially younger workers. The EEOC asserted that Liberty Support discharged or failed to rehire the employees because of their respective ages.
Such alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which protects individuals age 40 and over from employment discrimination because of their age and makes it illegal for an employer to fail or refuse to hire or discharge any individual because of his or her age. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, Asheville Division (EEOC v. Liberty Support Service, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:19-cv-00204) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process.
In addition to the monetary relief for the four attendants, the three-year consent decree settling the suit requires Liberty Support to adopt an anti-discrimination policy and provide training for its owners and employees on the ADEA and its prohibition against discrimination in the workplace because of age. The company will also post an employee notice about the lawsuit and employee rights under federal discrimination laws and provide periodic reports to the EEOC on its applicant pool and hiring during the decree’s duration.
“The EEOC will continue to challenge age bias and robustly enforce the ADEA,” said Kara Haden, acting regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District. “Employment decisions must be based on ability and not age.”
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.