Hospital Sued by EEOC for Age Discrimination

Federal agency says long-term employees were fired or forced to quit because of their ages.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Montrose Memorial Hospital, a hospital in Montrose, western Colorado, violated federal age discrimination law. 

The EEOC’s lawsuit states that Katherine Casias worked as a licensed practical nurse and registered nurse for 27 years with the hospital before Montrose fired her. Casias was accused of performance deficiencies for which younger nurses were treated much more leniently.

EEOC alleges that hospital managers made ageist comments, including that younger nurses could “dance around the older nurses” and that they preferred younger and “fresher” nurses. EEOC seeks relief for Casias and a group of employees, aged 40 and older, who were fired or forced to resign due to their ages.

This alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). EEOC filed its lawsuit (EEOC v. Montrose Memorial Hospital, Inc., Case No. 1:16-cv-02277 (D. Colo.)) after first attempting to resolve the matter through its pre-litigation conciliation process. The suit seeks monetary damages, including back pay and liquidated damages. EEOC also seeks injunctive relief prohibiting any future discrimination by the employers and mandating corrective action.

“Research shows that pervasive stereotypes about older workers still persist – for example, there are widespread stereotypes that older workers are less motivated, flexible, or trusting and that a younger workforce is preferable,” said Phoenix District EEOC Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill.  “These stereotypes are flatly untrue and must be recognized for what they are – prejudice and false assumptions.”