Hawaii Company Settles Age Discrimination Suit

July 20, 2012 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A U.S. district court judge ordered a Hawaii health care services company to pay $193,236 to a woman who was allegedly fired due to her age.

The judgment settles an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Hawaii Healthcare Professionals, Inc., which is also known as Hawaii Professional HomeCare Services, Inc., alleging the company’s owner, Carolyn Frutoz-De Harne, ordered the 2008 termination of Debra Moreno, a  then-54-year-old office coordinator at its Maui facility, after making ageist comments about her. Allegedly, she said Moreno is “like a bag of bones, “sounds old on the telephone” and “looks old.” 

The termination proceeded despite reports by the facility’s manager, who actually hired and supervised Moreno, that Moreno was a thorough and efficient worker.  After the termination, the manager reported the ageist comments to Moreno, who in turn filed a discrimination charge with the EEOC.

In addition to the monetary award for Moreno, the judgment also requires that the defendants prevent future age discrimination and retaliation by developing and disseminating procedures to address such claims and training all staff on  their rights with respect to age discrimination and retaliation, with additional training for supervisors on how to deal with complaints. 

The defendants also must retain an outside equal employment opportunity (EEO) coordinator to assist with these efforts and post a notice for employees regarding the judgment. The EEOC will monitor compliance with the judgment.