American Samoa Settles ADEA Suit

December 21, 2012 ( – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has resolved an age discrimination lawsuit against the American Samoa government.

In 2009, workers 50 years of age and older were forced to retire or move into undesirable posts as part of an effort by the U.S. territory’s government to free those positions for younger employees, the EEOC contends. Although the campaign against older workers began in the human resources department, the agency alleges, it spread throughout the American Samoa government, in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). 

As part of a settlement agreement, the American Samoa government has agreed to begin a reinstatement process for those employees ages 40 and older who had been terminated or forced into retirement. Claims of age-based removals will be investigated by the human resources department, and wronged employees will be reinstated if a position exists. 

The Samoan government also agreed to review its existing policies and complaint procedures to address age discrimination and retaliation; employ an equal employment opportunity (EEO) consultant to aid compliance; educate employees on their rights and responsibilities under EEO laws, with an emphasis on age discrimination; provide additional training to managers, supervisors and lead employees on issues of discrimination; and allow the EEOC to monitor compliance and the handling of internal complaints. 

American Samoa is a territory of the United States located in the South Pacific Ocean. The case was originally filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii.


—Sara Kelly