A North Georgia HR Director Receives $460K in a Settlement of a Federal Age Discrimination Dispute

When an employer denies a worker a promotion, fires them, or refuses to hire them because they’re over 40, that decision potentially represents a violation of federal law (the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).) If you’ve encountered an age discrimination issue — whether as an employee or an employer — an experienced Atlanta age discrimination lawyer can help you map out the path forward that is the most advantageous given your specific circumstances.

Observers have noted that age discrimination actions are on the rise. That includes here in Georgia.

In one recent age discrimination case, the employer was an Alpharetta-based manufacturer of connectors used in medical devices. Allegedly, after the employer named a new CEO in 2016 and a new president in 2019, the pair embarked on a plan to get rid of all the company’s older management employees and sales workers, replacing them with a new, younger staff.

According to the ADEA complaint against the employer filed in the Northern District of Georgia, the company’s HR director witnessed numerous instances where the employer forced out upper-management employees who were older and rejected older job candidates in favor of hiring younger, less-qualified candidates.

The director also allegedly heard the CEO, who was only 31 in 2019, make dozens of “discriminatory, age-related comments” about employees and job applicants. According to the lawsuit, after the HR director refused to go along with the president and CEO’s plan, the company fired her and replaced her with two “significantly younger” workers.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission considered the alleged violations to be a “textbook example of age discrimination” in violation of the ADEA.

The employer ultimately elected to settle rather than litigate the dispute. In exchange for the dismissal of the ADEA charges against it, the company agreed to pay $460,000 in monetary damages.

Others in the Industry Have Also Faced ADEA Lawsuits

The Alpharetta company isn’t the only entity within the medical device/pharmaceutical industry to allegedly run afoul of the ADEA recently. A day before the filing of the lawsuit targeting the Alpharetta company, the EEOC sued Lilly USA, alleging that it systematically rejected older pharmaceutical sales representative job applicants based on their ages.

Three months before those filings, the EEOC sued another pharmaceutical firm, Novo Nordisk, for ADEA violations. That complaint accused the company of denying a 62-year-old employee a lateral transfer, then ultimately hiring a less qualified 33-year-old worker to fill the role.

In 2012, a sales manager at another pharmaceutical employer — Roche — recovered more than $1.8 million after a jury found that the employer violated the ADEA. The employee’s case alleged that his manager told him he didn’t fit into the “new environment” and repeatedly referred to him as “old school.” The outcome serves as a reminder that damages awards in jury trials on these issues can be substantial.

The knowledgeable Atlanta age discrimination attorneys at the law firm of Parks, Chesin & Walbert are proud to offer our client decades of experience in addition to a complete and thorough understanding of all relevant age discrimination laws. For reliable answers to your age discrimination questions, contact us through this website or at 404-873-8048 to schedule a consultation today.

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