Federal law protects workers over 40-years-old from age discrimination. Ohio State University has faced age discrimination lawsuits which included an employment law action filed by the US Equal Opportunity Commission in Sept. on behalf of a 53-year-old former employee.
The EEOC charged that the employee, a former human resources generalist for the university, was terminated by its college of education and human ecology in March 2018 as part of a reduction in force. He was 53 when he lost his job, had 20 years of human resources experience, and gained 12 years of that experience at Ohio State.
His duties were reassigned to two other university employees. One of those employees, who was significantly younger than the former employee, received a $6,000 raise although he had less than five years of HR experience. Six months after the termination, that employee was promoted to the generalist position and received another raise.
The fired employee continued to apply for HR jobs at the university, especially with the college of education and human ecology. Four times, according to the EEOC’s charges, the university hired younger and less qualified applicants. Also, one of his former supervisors allegedly referred to the fired employee as the old guy while calling another employee and him the old crew.
The EEOC claims that the university’s conduct violated the age discrimination in employment act of 1967. This law protects workers who are least 40 years old from employment discrimination based on age. Age discrimination cannot be disguised by a supposed reduction in force, according to the EEOC.
The EEOC filed the lawsuit in the district court in Columbus after failing to reach a settlement through its mediation process. Money damages and back pay are being sought along with appropriate remedies to end age discrimination at the college and protect the public interest.
There were other age-discrimination complaints at the college of education and human ecology. Two workers, a 59-year-old and 54-year-old, sued Ohio State in 2015. They charged that they were forced into retirement and that administrators started an effort to force out older employees. The university settled the case in May 2018 with a $765,000 payment and an agreement to review its policies for discrimination prevention and investigations.
Age discrimination cases may be difficult. An attorney may help pursue your rights.