West Virginia Hospital Settles Age Bias Lawsuit

May 7, 2014 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – A West Virginia hospital has settled an age and disability lawsuit brought about by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The Weirton Medical Center, based in Weirton, West Virginia, will pay $12,500 and furnish significant equitable relief to resolve the suit, EEOC v. Weirton Medical Center (civil action no. 5:13-97), filed by the EEOC in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Paul Ayers had successfully performed as a linen technician at the center for more than 24 years, and was well-qualified for a multi-craftsman position for which he applied. However, the center’s maintenance director, who interviewed Ayers for the position, made various oral and written statements indicating he did not select Ayers for the job because of Ayers’ age (48) and a perceived disability in the form of a back impairment.

The EEOC said the maintenance director admitted during the agency’s administrative investigation that he did not select Ayers for the position because he “wanted someone younger and more energetic.” Such conduct violates both the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The three-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit provides Ayers with monetary relief and enjoins the center from engaging in any future hiring practices that discriminate on the basis of age or disability, and also from engaging in unlawful retaliation. The center will conduct random audits of not less than 25% of all hiring decisions to make sure those hiring decisions conform to the requirements of the ADEA, ADA and its own anti-discrimination policies.

In addition, the center will provide training to all management personnel with hiring authority on the ADEA, ADA and the provisions of the consent decree. The center will also post a remedial notice.

After the EEOC filed its lawsuit on behalf of Ayers, the center voluntarily hired him into the multi-craftsman assistant position and paid him his lost wages without being ordered by a court to do so. The monetary relief provided by the consent decree is in addition these lost wages.