According to the EEOC’s suit, Computer Systems LLC, of Shawano, Wisconsin, chose Sharon Passon (age 60) as the billing specialist whose job would be eliminated in an April 2010 reduction-in-force, and retained a younger (age 34) and less qualified billing specialist. Passon had worked at Computer Systems for 38 years before being fired.
The consent decree settling the suit provides that Computer Systems will pay Passon $32,500 and prohibits future discrimination. Also, if the company, which was sold in November 2010, resumes operations, it will be required to train its managers and supervisors regarding an employer’s obligations and the rights of employees under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).
“In recent years, the economic slowdown has led some companies to base employment decisions on an individual’s age,” said John C. Hendrickson, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Chicago District Office, which is responsible for EEOC litigation in Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota. “Sometimes we need to reinforce, through litigation, the message that older individuals are productive workers and should be rewarded for their loyalty and hard work.”The case, EEOC v. Computer Systems LLC, No. 2:11-cv-1178, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.