Tulsa-based Kanbar Property Management LLC (KPM) agreed to pay $140,000 and furnish other relief to settle an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC. The suit alleged that KPM violated federal law by firing employee Toni Strength because of her age—53—and favoring younger people to replace her.
According to the suit, Strength was a KPM property manager who had been with the company and its predecessor since 1992. KPM notified Strength, who was 53 at the time, that she was being terminated in October 2010 because her position was being eliminated. The EEOC charged that KPM had deliberately replaced Strength with younger women, including placing a 23-year-old clerical employee in the property manager position, and that the younger replacements were then assigned seven of the 10 buildings that Strength had managed.
The EEOC said these actions were taken because KPM’s former CEO had wanted “younger and prettier” property managers to meet with potential tenants and entertain potential tenants after regular work hours. Such behavior violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which prohibits the basing of employment decisions on a person’s age if he or she is older than 40.
The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma under EEOC v. Kanbar Property Management LLC (Civil Case No.: 12-CV- 422-JED-TLW) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement.
The settlement provides that KPM will pay $140,000 to Strength, update its anti-discrimination policies to recognize the importance of older employees in the workforce, and furnish companywide ADEA training for all of its management personnel with hiring and firing authority.