Atlas Energy Group, LLC, based out of Fort Worth posts this philosophy on their About Us page: “Atlas has a performance driven and team-based culture where employee input is valued and our employees are committed to our core values.” Interestingly, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) just settled an age discrimination lawsuit against the company.
Atlas was charged with age discrimination by the EEOC for forcing a 52-year-old foreman with over 20 years of experience out of his job for a younger person.
“Casting off long-term employees – who could otherwise continue to be solid contributors – based on age alone is unlawful and unacceptable,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Robert Canino.
The foreman will receive $85,000 in monetary relief from Atlas as part of the settlement. In addition, the company will offer training on age discrimination to its HR and managerial team members to prevent further incidents. Any future complaints of age discrimination must be reported to the EEOC. Atlas will face greater scrutiny for this one violation.
Age discrimination complaints are on the rise.
According to the EEOC, age discrimination is a significant problem in the United States. The Age Discrimination Act in Employment Act (ADEA) celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018, but age discrimination is still prevalent. The EEOC makes every attempt to resolve complaints before charges are filed with the court.
Today’s experienced workers (i.e. older workers) are working and living longer than the generations of the past. Some work out of necessity, while others simply want to stay busy and engaged within their community. Discrimination is demeaning to employees. Employers lose out when they overlook experienced workers.
Be mindful of your own age biases.
Small businesses should be aware of their policies concerning hiring and firing of employees when it comes to age. The ADEA protects workers aged 40+. Although ADEA only applies to employers with 20 or more employees, all employers should be aware of age discrimination in the workplace.