Capital City Dental Care, a dental practice headquartered in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, violated federal law when it fired a group of dental hygienists because of their age, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit.
According to the suit, in August 2015, a new owner purchased the dental practice. From September 2015 through November 2015, Capital City Dental Care fired eight out of nine dental hygienists older than 40 at its Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, location. Capital City Dental Care did not give the dental hygienists, each of whom had years of experience and was qualified for the position, any prior notice or reason for the termination. From August 2015 through February 2018, the company then replaced them with 14 employees, 13 of whom were younger than 40.
Such alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), which prohibits discrimination against people who are age 40 or older.
The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Michael A. Sisk, DDS, LLC, d/b/a/ Capital City Dental Care, Civil Action No. 1:19-cv-00804-UN1) in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, after first attempting to reach a voluntary, pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.The agency has been cracking down on age bias, and a House of Representatives committee recently considered such issues faced by older workers. A 2018 report by then acting chair of the EEOC, Victoria A. Lipnic, found age discrimination remains too common and too accepted as outdated assumptions about older workers and ability persist. It says age discrimination can thwart employees’ plans to work longer and could affect retirement plan drawdown strategies.