A Southfield, Michigan-based oral surgery practice will pay $47,000 to settle an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The EEOC’s lawsuit charged that Professional Endodontics, P.C. violated federal law by firing Karen Ruerat four days after her 65th birthday. According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Ruerat, who had worked for the company for 37 years, was terminated in January 2016 pursuant to a company policy which required employees to retire at age 65.
The agency explains that this alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Professional Endodontics, P.C., Case No. 4:17-cv-13466) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
The consent decree settling the suit, in addition to providing for the award of monetary relief to Ruerat, prohibits any similar discrimination in the future and requires Professional Endodontics to provide anti-discrimination training to its employees. The training will include instruction on the practices made unlawful under the ADEA.“Private employers need to understand that mandatory retirement policies run afoul of the ADEA and will be met with challenge,” says Kenneth Bird, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Indianapolis District Office.