Insurance Sales Company Harassed and Terminated Employees Based on Their Age, Federal Agency Charged
NEW YORK - PJP Heath, Inc. will pay a total of $300,000 to three former employees to settle a lawsuit for age-based harassment, discrimination and retaliation filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. This Long Island sales insurance company is currently located in Melville, Long Island and also had a former location in Lake Success.
The EEOC's lawsuit charged that the company's management made discriminatory age-related comments and refused to promote one of the claimants based on her age. The agency also said that the employer terminated two employees based on their age and fired a third claimant within three days after an internal meeting with her about her discrimination complaint.
Discrimination against those 40 and older and retaliation for opposing or reporting it violate the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The EEOC filed suit in July 2013 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Civil Action No. 2:13-cv- 4092) after first attempting to reach a settlement out of court through its conciliation process.
The court entered the consent decree on April 30, 2014. In addition to monetary payments, the resolution requires PJP Health to take steps to prevent future age-based harassment, discrimination or retaliation, including conducting training for all employees and management, reporting any complaints and the company's responses to the EEOC and posting a notice informing employees about the settlement.
Kevin Berry, District Director of the EEOC New York District Office, stated, "Age discrimination is of great concern to us, because older workers continue to face negative stereotypes in the workplace. Employers cannot make decisions based on discriminatory stereotypes and inaccurate assumptions based on age."
"Our hope is that supervisors, particularly younger ones, as was the case here, do not continue to feel emboldened to harass and terminate older employees, but rather become informed that this conduct violates federal law," said EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Sunu P. Chandy. "We are proud of these older workers who risked much to come forward to challenge this type of illegal workplace behavior."
Robert D. Rose, Acting Regional Attorney of the EEOC's New York District Office, added, "This settlement is significant not only for the monetary relief obtained for the victims, but also for the training of the company management that will take place and the new complaint procedures that must be implemented as a result of this EEOC action."
Preserving access to the legal system and preventing harassment through systemic enforcement and targeted outreach are two of six national priorities identified by the EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.