Company to Pay $201K for Firing Older Employee

May 21, 2012 ( - A Carrollton, Texas-based distributor of specialty fasteners will pay $201,000 and furnish other relief to settle an age discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The agency says Advance Components’ executive vice president and general manager, Gary Craven, made ageist comments to Dan Miller, a 64-year-old national sales manager, and finally fired him because of his age. Miller had almost 20 years experience selling the company’s products and had been hired by Advance Components’ founder.   

According to the EEOC, Craven called Miller “old-fashioned” and repeatedly expressed his preference to hire younger salesmen with his motto: “30-30-30. Hire a 30-year-old with an IQ of 30 and pay him $30,000.” Craven also allegedly made comments about outside sales being a young man’s game because they were more “driven” and that he wanted to “put young guys on the street.” Miller was fired on October 6, 2009, and his position was filled the following day by a man in his 30s.  

“Older workers have the right to be evaluated based on their abilities and not based on their age,” said EEOC Senior Trial Attorney William C. Backhaus. “Every employer, large and small, needs to recognize the importance of avoiding stereotypes, including those about age and older workers. Advance Components wrongly assumed that Mr. Miller’s age, 64, interfered with his ability to connect with customers. It didn’t – we learned that he was their top producer and that customers loved him.”