Nassau County Police Dept. to Pay $450,000 for Age Bias

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission last week announced that Nassau County on Long Island, N.Y., will pay $450,000 and agree to significant injunctive relief to settle an age discrimination lawsuit on behalf of several police officers in the Marine Bureau. In its lawsuit, EEOC said that on or about July 27, 2006, a the county transferred four individuals out of their Marine Bureau positions and into precincts that were less desirable and replaced them with younger officers.

As a result of the discriminatory transfers, two parties were forced out of their jobs (constructively discharged) and two individuals continued to work in precincts that were less favorable to them. The charging parties' files contained numerous positive commendations from the public throughout their employment with the county. Moreover, their files contained no negative performance evaluations prior to their transfer or at any time.

The consent decree resolving the litigation provides $450,000 in total for the charging parties as well as injunctive relief, including anti-discrimination training for more than 400 supervisors and managers in the county police department.

"Employers must be mindful of age discrimination and take steps to prevent it, particularly with the graying of the labor force," said EEOC New York District Director Spencer Lewis. "All individuals deserve the freedom to compete in the workplace based on merit and ability, regardless of age."

During Fiscal Year 2007, EEOC says it received 19,103 age discrimination charge filings, a 15 percent increase from the prior year and the largest annual increase since FY 2002. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age. The act's protections apply to both employees and job applicants. Under ADEA, it is unlawful to discriminate against a person because of his/her age with respect to any term, condition, or privilege of employment, including hiring, firing, promotion, layoff, compensation, benefits, job assignments, and training.

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