California City Settles Age Bias Charge

The EEOC says the city chose a less qualified applicant rather than more qualified applicants older than 50.

The City of Milpitas, California, will pay $140,000 and provide other relief to settle an age discrimination lawsuit by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

A lawsuit filed by the EEOC in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California charged that the city failed to hire qualified applicants older than age 50 who scored higher than the person selected in a three-person panel review of the candidates. Instead, the city hired a younger applicant, age 39, for the position of executive secretary to the city manager.                     

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age.

The city denied the allegations, but, under the consent decree approved by U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte, agreed to pay $140,000 to three job applicants. In addition, the city will distribute revised age discrimination policies to all employees; implement a comprehensive procedure for reporting complaints; provide annual anti-discrimination training to all employees, managers and supervisors; and report any age discrimination complaints to EEOC for two years.

As more studies indicate employees are planning to retire later, age bias may be a deterrent to those plans.