The EEOC filed its suit, EEOC v. Mattress Firm, Inc. (case no. 2:13-cv-01745), in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada on behalf of a class of older workers the agency says were forced out and replaced by younger staff in the greater Las Vegas area.
According to the complaint, store managers and salespersons older than 40 years of age endured Mattress Firm’s campaign to edge them out upon the retail giant’s 2007 acquisition of a Las Vegas mattress chain, Bedtime Mattress. Senior management officials allegedly conspired to force out the older staff, which comprised a majority at the time, by intentionally treating them less favorably than incoming younger staff.
The EEOC asserted older workers were pushed to work harder and held to a higher work standard, demoted to work under less experienced and younger staff, denied promotional opportunities, denied training and access to computer systems, and/or had their commissions diluted. Ultimately, older workers felt compelled to quit or were otherwise forced out. By the end of 2007, Mattress Firm had replaced this group of older workers with an influx of younger and less experienced store managers and salespeople.
The suit alleging violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) seeks back pay and liquidated damages for the class of older workers, as well as injunctive relief intended to prevent further age discrimination at the company. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.