AT&T Settles Age Discrimination Lawsuit

September 3, 2013 ( – AT&T has agreed to pay $250,000 and provide other relief to settle an age discrimination lawsuit.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said in the fall of 2008, AT&T fired Terry Pierce from its Lee’s Summit, Missouri, facility because of her age, in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Pierce, who had been employed by the company for 16 years as sales coach manager, was 53 years old when AT&T discharged her, while at the same time retaining younger, lower-performing sales coach managers or allowing them to transfer.

AT&T also agreed to redistribute its anti-discrimination policy with a message from its equal employment opportunity director reaffirming the company’s commitment to the policy, as well as provide anti-discrimination training and report to the EEOC complaints of age discrimination and terminations of persons older than 40.

Separately, the EEOC announced it has charged Atchison Transportation Services, Inc., a full-service ground transportation company in South Carolina, with violating federal law by firing two employees because of their ages.

According to the suit, in December 2011, William Thomas, a motor coach driver for Atchison, was told by the company’s operations manager he had thought Thomas was “only 70,” but because he had discovered Thomas was actually 75, the company had to let him go. Allegedly, the operations manager further stated that the company’s insurance policy had a clause that did not allow drivers to drive after they reached the age of 75.

The EEOC made similar allegations concerning Norris Locke, another motor coach driver for the company. In April 2009, when Locke was 76 years old, he was discharged by the same operations manager. According to suit, the operations manager stated that Locke was terminated because the company’s insurance policy would not insure Locke any longer. Upon investigation, the EEOC found the company’s insurance policy had no clause that prohibited insuring older drivers.

The agency seeks back pay, liquidated damages, reinstatement and/or front pay for Thomas and Locke, as well as injunctive relief.