Company Seeking ‘Young Blood’ Charged with Age Bias

Many employees now plan to work later to be retirement ready, but lawsuits filed by the EEOC indicate that may be hard for some due to bias.

Rental Pro, a miscellaneous equipment rental company in Somerset, Kentucky, with locations in Hazard, London and Pikeville, Kentucky, will pay $37,000 to settle an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

According to EEOC’s suit, Rental Pro terminated Ronald Johnson, 52, because of his age. The company’s owner sought “younger and peppier” employees and wanted to bring “young blood” into the company, the agency alleged.

“Employers should make employment decisions based on a person’s ability to do the job, and not on myths and stereotypes,” says Laurie Young, regional attorney for EEOC’s Indianapolis District, which includes Louisville, Detroit and Cincinnati.

About two weeks ago, the EEOC reported about job candidates ages 54, 40, and 58 being told by a restaurant general manager they were “too old” to work for the restaurant. And earlier in January, the EEOC charged in a lawsuit that during an email-based interview, a company asked whether a candidate was within its ideal age range of 45 to 52. When the candidate revealed he was 58, the company refused to hire him.

From 2013 to 2015, the EEOC targeted fire districts in New York for a retirement plan that stopped employees’ service credits after they turned age 55.

With many employees now saying they plan to work longer and even transition into retirement with part-time work, the EEOC’s enforcement indicates age bias and stereotypes may hinder their efforts.