Sears Store Pays $30,750 to Sexagenarian It Refused to Hire

A Corpus Christi Sears store will pay more than $30,000 and furnish other relief to settle an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The agency's lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Corpus Christi Division (Civil Action No. 2:09-cv-00253), alleged that Sears #1217, refused to hire a then-61-year-old applicant into an entry-level loss prevention/asset protection position despite his qualifications and 27 years of investigative experience. Such alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), said EEOC, which filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.

Under the terms of the consent decree settling the suit, signed by U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack on July 14, Sears will: (1) require all members of management with supervisory authority who are assigned to work at Sears Store #1217 to review and agree in writing to comply with Sears' equal employment opportunity/ADEA policy; (2) provide training on the requirements of the ADEA to all members of Sears' management with supervisory authority and/or the authority to hire, promote, terminate, and/or demote employees at Sears Store #1217; (3) post a notice confirming Sears’ intent not to discriminate against any employee and/or applicant for employment in violation of ADEA; and (4) pay $30,750 to the applicant it refused to hire.

"We are pleased that Sears worked cooperatively with the EEOC in bringing a resolution to this case," said supervisory trial attorney Judith G. Taylor of EEOC's San Antonio Field Office. "Through the negotiated settlement process, we were able to forge a solution that protects the rights of older applicants."

In fiscal year 2009, EEOC received 22,778 charges alleging age discrimination. In July 2009, the commission held a public hearing on age discrimination and barriers to the employment of older workers. Additional information about the hearing can be found on EEOC's website at http://www.eeoc.gov/abouteeoc/meetings/7-15-09/index.html.

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