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Age discrimination lawsuit filed against Chinese company that hires Americans

(BUSINESS) Taiwan’s iTutorGroup Inc. is under fire for alleged age discrimination practices during hiring, including American tutors and applicants.

Lady resting on counter on laptop, representing age discrimination

The EEOC filed suit against iTutorGroup in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York for age discrimination for how iTutorGroup processed online job applications. According to the lawsuit, iTutorGroup’s software was programmed to automatically reject female applicants over the age of 55 and male applicants over the age of 60. The EEOC alleges iTutorGroup violated federal laws.

What is iTutorGroup?

iTutorGroup, Inc. hires thousands of American tutors each year to provide online tutoring to students around the world. The iTutorGroup is based in Taipei, T’ai-pei, Taiwan. According to Crunchbase, Ping An, an insurance holding company, acquired the company in 2019. Ping An is a Chinese company. Although neither company is based in the United States, because they recruit employees from the U.S., these companies are subject to The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA).

How the EEOC views age discrimination

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The EEOC attempted to reach a settlement with iTutorGroup prior to the lawsuit being filed. The ADEA prohibits employers from discriminating based on age. The EEOC’s position is that age discrimination is unlawful, even when technology automates the process. According to an EEOC press release, EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows said, “This case is an example of why the EEOC recently launched an Artificial Intelligence and Algorithmic Fairness Initiative.”

What businesses should know

Not only is the EEOC seeking back pay and liquidated damages for over 200 applicants who were denied jobs, but they are also seeking “strong injunctive relief” (fines) that will prevent discrimination in the future. Don’t think this is a unique case…In 2019, Facebook settled age discrimination lawsuits for only showing job ads to younger candidates. The takeaway is that businesses cannot use technology to get around age discrimination laws. Check your software to make you are not discriminating against applicants over 40. The EEOC is watching.

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Dawn Brotherton is a Sr. Staff Writer at The American Genius with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Oklahoma. She is an experienced business writer with over 10 years of experience in SEO and content creation. Since 2017, she has earned $60K+ in grant writing for a local community center, which assists disadvantaged adults in the area.

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