CLUB GABYS SUED BY EEOC FOR AGE BIAS
MIAMI - A restaurant, lounge, night club and liquor store in Pembroke Pines, Fla., violated federal law when it discriminated against older employees, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed yesterday.
According to the EEOC's suit against Club Gabys, Edith Cruse and several other employees over 40 were subjected to a hostile work environment and disparate treatment and were fired or forced out of their jobs because of their age.
In March 2007, Club Gabys came under new management. The EEOC said the new managers stated they would get rid of all the old and ugly people. Older employees were told that there were too many old employees and they needed younger ones. Club Gabys began to cut older employees' hours and wages, take away their responsibilities, assign them to undesirable shifts, and force them out or terminate them outright. Younger employees were hired to cover the more desirable shifts and replace the older workers.
Such alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Man Mar, Inc., Case No. 0:09-cv-60761) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.
This lawsuit is a reminder that, although progress has been made, it is still possible for people to be judged at work by factors like age, rather than years of proven experience and ability,said EEOC Miami District Director Jacqueline McNair.
EEOC Regional Attorney Nora Curtin added, Employers cannot eliminate older workers because they do not fit the employer's desired image. The law is well established that employers may not break the law in order to cater to what they perceive to be customer preference for youth.
During Fiscal Year 2008, age discrimination charges surged to a record high 24,582 an increase of 29 percent from the prior fiscal year.