Georgia County Sued for Age Discrimination

October 17, 2013 ( – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a lawsuit against Fannin County, Georgia, alleging that federal law was violated when the county selected employees for layoffs due to their age.

In EEOC v. Fannin County, Georgia (Civil Action No. 2:13-cv-00225), the EEOC claims that Fannin County violated federal law by firing employees older than 60, because of their age while retaining younger employees. According to the lawsuit, the county conducted layoffs in its road department in November 2011. Of the 11 employees selected for the layoff, seven were older than 60, and four were younger than 60. The suit further states that, within a few months of the layoff, the county rehired three of the four employees younger than 60 who had been laid off, but did not rehire any of the employees older than 60.

Since these alleged actions violate the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which requires employers to not discriminate against employees of 40 or older because of their age, the EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Gainesville Division. The EEOC initially attempted to reach a prelitigation settlement through its conciliation process but was unsuccessful. The lawsuit seeks back pay and liquidated damages for the employees, as well as injunctive relief designed to prevent future discrimination.

“An employer cannot terminate an employee on the basis of his age,” said Robert Dawkins, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Atlanta District office. “Here, the facts strongly indicated that Fannin County targeted employees older than 60 when it selected employees for a layoff.”