Woman awarded $105,000 in back pay and damages after company fires her for refusing to retire at 65

The image is credited to designer491/Getty Images.

    • A company has agreed to pay a former employee $105,000 in back page and damages.
    • According to the lawsuit, she was fired after refusing to retire at 65.
    • The company replaced her with a man in his 30s, despite telling her the role was being eliminated.

According to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a former employee who was fired by her company of almost 20 years for refusing to retire at 65 will be awarded $105,000 in back pay and damages.

J&M Industries, Inc., a manufacturing and distribution company in Louisiana, has been accused of violating federal age discrimination laws in a discrimination lawsuit filed by the federal agency. The employee was fired, which led to the legal action.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, also known as ADEA, bans age-based discrimination against individuals who are 40 years old or above.

The EEOC announced the outcome of the lawsuit in a news release, stating that a company manager repeatedly questioned the employee, who remains anonymous, about her retirement plans as she approached her 65th birthday.

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The EEOC’s lawsuit alleges that the manager directly asked her questions like, “When do you plan to retire?” “Have you considered retiring at 65?” and “Can you share the reasons for not retiring?”

According to the federal agency, the company informed her that her role as a purchasing agent was being eliminated due to economic uncertainty when she mentioned that she had no immediate plans to stop working.

Within a month, the company hired a man in his 30s for the same role that it had previously claimed to be eliminating, according to the EEOC.

According to the Miami Herald, the company refuted claims of terminating the woman based on her age and stated that the 39-year-old replacement had “wider and more significant responsibilities than she did.”

According to the Miami Herald, the company clarified that any comments made regarding her retirement plans were either “stray remarks” or were connected to succession planning.

The company has agreed to pay $105,000 in back pay and liquidated damages as part of a three-year consent decree to settle the lawsuit. In addition, they will provide training, revise policies, and submit regular reports to the EEOC. As a demonstration of compliance with the ADEA law, the company will also post a notice.

The lawsuit was filed by the EEOC in the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Rudy Sustaita, the regional attorney for the EEOC’s Houston District Office, emphasized that this resolution is in the best interest of the public, according to a news release.

“It offers relief for the former employee and will also ensure the protection of others from age discrimination,” he expressed. “We are delighted that the EEOC and J&M Industries were able to come to this resolution.”

J&M Industries did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment right away. The request was sent outside of their operating hours.

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