Indianapolis Job Search Firm Accused of Age Bias

October 1, 2004 ( - An Indianapolis job-search firm violated federal discrimination laws by refusing to place employment candidates because of their age, a government lawsuit charged.

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed the suit after a two-year investigation. “It revealed quite a bit of discrimination,” said Johanna Philhower Maple, an EEOC attorney. Maple would not say how many people were affected by the alleged discrimination but said the figure is substantial. The EEOC suit says the discrimination dates back to 1998.

The owner of Protis called the accusations unfounded. “We are so far away from being discriminatory,” Bert Miller, who founded the company in 1996, told the newspaper. “The clear facts will show the EEOC is wrong.”

Protis permanently places up to 120 employees annually, Miller said. Protis places executives in sales, marketing, insurance and other fields in jobs that typically pay between $75,000 and $300,000 a year.

The government is seeking back wages for job candidates, other monetary damages and a permanent injunction ordering Protis to change its referral practices.

The legal fight started in 2002 when a former Protis employee filed an age-discrimination complaint with the EEOC, Maple said. Agency officials would not disclose the person’s name or age or details of the complaint.