According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Central Freight Lines, Inc. discriminated against eight dockworkers by selecting them for termination because of their age in an August 31, 2007, reduction in force. The agency charged that the company used the reduction-in-force as a ruse to fire the dockworkers, some of whom had worked at the company for 20 or more years and were approximately 50 years old and older.
A consolidated suit filed by the EEOC and the private parties alleged that workers were called names like “grandpa” and other age-related slurs by their supervisor, who also had been tasked with preparing a list of the men to be terminated. According to the EEOC, the company also changed its attendance and disciplinary policy so that the men, who had not had more than a few disciplinary write-ups, were suddenly put on corrective action and eligible for termination under the new policy.
The company then replaced the older employees with younger hires. In the consent decree, Central Freight agreed to pay $400,000 to the claimants and to train management and supervisory personnel at the Central Freight Dallas and Ft. Worth Terminals about equal-employment opportunity policies and procedures. The company will also commit to enforce a written policy against age discrimination.