HOUSTON, TX (STL.News) Burrow Global Services, LLC fired a worker in his 60s because of his age and replaced him with a younger worker in his 30s, violating federal age discrimination laws, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC’s suit, in early 2017, Burrow hired a new engineering services site manager to supervise a group of Burrow employees working at the Chevron Phillips Cedar Bayou chemical plant in Baytown, Texas. The new manager was in his early 30s. Within weeks of starting, he began making comments such as “When are you going to retire?” to the instrument & electrical (I&E) design coordinator, whom he directly supervised. Although the I&E design coordinator was in his 60s, he had no plans to retire at that time.
The EEOC alleges that by mid-summer 2017, some of the oldest members of the approximately 15-person work group were laid off or fired by the new manager. On Aug. 17, 2017, the new manager called the coordinator into his office and fired him. Burrow Global’s “termination report” states that the reason it discharged the coordinator was “layoff” and “lack of work / ROF.” However, Burrow then replaced the coordinator with a new employee in his 30s who had completed no formal education beyond high school. The coordinator had a degree from a four-year university.
Discriminating against employees who are 40 years of age or older because of their age violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division (Civil Action No. 4:20-cv-00423) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
The EEOC is seeking a permanent injunction prohibiting Burrow Global Services from engaging in future age discrimination. It also seeks back pay, liquidated damages, and job reinstatement for the Coordinator.
“More and more frequently employees are choosing to remain in the workforce into their sixties and seventies. Employers cannot discriminate by pushing aside those experienced and competent employees against their will,” said EEOC Houston District Director Rayford O. Irvin.
Houston District Office Regional Attorney Rudy Sustaita added, “Workers should be judged on their performance and abilities, not their age.”
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