The applicant filed a charge of discrimination against this South Florida company, claiming age discrimination. The EEOC found cause to believe that the Florida-based business violated the federal age discrimination law and actually sued the employer on the applicant’s behalf after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The federal age discrimination lawsuit was brought in District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Fort Lauderdale Division (EEOC v. Ruby Tuesday, Inc., No. 0:17-cv-60970-BB).
Five months after the law suit was filed, the Florida business settled the age discrimination lawsuit by agreeing to pay the applicant $45,000.
Can a Florida business tell an older applicant that they prefer to hire a candidate who could “maximize longevity?”
A 59-year old applicant applied for a job at a Boca Raton business. The Florida applicant had more than 20 years of experience in the industry, but he was not hired. When he asked why, the company responded that it wanted to hire a candidate who could “maximize longevity.” The Boca Raton, Florida company hired an individual who was 17 years younger.
Is this allowed? The Florida company didn’t say they wanted to hire someone younger.
New code word for “too old to hire”
In addition to the $45,000 in monetary relief to the older applicant, the employer signed a the three-year consent decree which requires the Florida business to identify a Diversity Director, requires any internal age discrimination complaints to be reported to the EEOC, nationwide oversight of the company’s age-friendly recruiting and hiring efforts, updating an age discrimination policy, training staff on that new age discrimination policy, and ADEA training for its hiring management team.
Florida employers are reminded that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”) will mark its 50th Anniversary in December 2017.
The director of the EEOC's Miami District Office stated that at after 50 years, “employers should be well aware that discrimination against qualified job applicants because of their age is a violation of federal law. Employers must remain vigilant in their efforts to make hiring decisions based on qualifications and not myths, fears or stereotypes associated with applicants over 40.”
Florida businesses should recall that one of the six priorities in the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan for the next five years is to eliminate barriers in recruitment and hiring.
If you need any assistance in handling age discrimination matters or issues dealing with hiring older workers concerning your Florida business, please promptly email or call the Law Office of David Miklas, P.A. at 1-772-465-5111.
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