Nursing Home to Pay $40,000 to Settle Age, Race Discrimination Suit

Poplar Springs Nursing Center LLC, a Meridian, Miss., nursing home, will pay $40,000 and furnish other relief to settle an age and race discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced recently.

According to EEOC’s lawsuit, Poplar Springs discriminated against Gloria Carey, a 53-year-old black female, by denying her a social worker position because of her age and her race. EEOC alleged that despite Carey’s 27-plus years of experience as a social worker, Poplar Springs refused to consider her for the position. Instead, EEOC said, a less qualified 34-year-old white female was the only candidate interviewed and then hired.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects people aged 40 and older from employment discrimination. Race discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Eastern Division (Civil Action No. 4:08-cv-112-TSL-LCA) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement.

The settlement, by consent decree, dated April 29, 2010, provides for a payment of $40,000 in compensatory damages to Carey. The decree also requires Poplar Springs to provide specific training to its administrator, managers and supervisors, with particular emphasis on age and race discrimination, and to submit reports to the EEOC detailing its compliance with the decree. The settlement also requires Poplar Springs to provide training to employees on age and race discrimination at its in-service training sessions that occur every other month.

“Racial and age stereotyping has no place in hiring decisions; it is illegal, demoralizing, and deprives the workplace of invaluable knowledge, experience and creativity,” said EEOC District Director Delner Franklin-Thomas. “The EEOC will vigorously prosecute employers who engage in this type of conduct.”

EEOC Birmingham District Office Regional Attorney C. Emanuel Smith said, “We are pleased that Poplar Springs has agreed to resolve this litigation and committed to take positive steps to improve its application process. Assumptions about an applicant’s ability should never be grounded in age or race bias.”

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