EEOC Sues Police Department for Age Discrimination

December 20, 2013 ( – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed an age discrimination lawsuit against a police department in Hawaii.

The suit, EEOC v. County of Maui Police Department (case number CV-13-00698-LEK-KSC), was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii. In the suit, the EEOC alleges that the County of Maui violated federal law when it refused to hire a qualified candidate as a police officer due to his age.

Lars Sandstrom applied for the position of police officer in 2009, met all of the minimum qualifications for the position and passed the qualifying written exam, according to the suit. Sandstrom also had a bachelor’s degree, as well as extensive military and life experience, which qualified him for the position.

The EEOC contends that during the job interview, assumptions were made about Sandstrom’s abilities given his age, which was 45 at the time of the alleged discrimination. This included the comment that, “I doubt someone your age could handle the stress of training,” case documents show. 

Sandstrom was not selected for the position. An EEOC investigation found that other, less-qualified candidates were hired as police officers during the time in question. In addition, the EEOC pointed out that was able to secure employment as a police officer with another police department.

This alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The suit by the EEOC suit seeks back pay, benefits and liquidated damages for Sandstrom, as well as injunctive relief intended to prevent further age discrimination at the County of Maui Police Department.