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Denying allegations, hospital settles EEOC discrimination suit

In a story that garnered national media attention, a hospital in another state has agreed to pay $400,000 that will go to almost 30 of their former employees, which include nurses and other medical professionals.

This action will settle a lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal agency in charge of enforcing federal anti-discrimination laws, including federal laws prohibiting age discrimination.

The EEOC's allegations were that the hospital had a habit of forcing older nurses and other employees out of their jobs, even though these nurses often had decades of medical experience. Although the investigation started with a complaint filed 5 years ago by one nurse, the scope of the investigation grew to include 29 former employees.

As the investigation went on, the EEOC discovered more and more evidence that the leadership of the company wanted to get "fresher" nurses and also move the "old monkeys" out of the hospital system. The hospital denies legal liability but indicated it settled the matter to put it to rest and move forward with its business.

Aside from the payment, the hospital will also have to re-evaluate its anti-discrimination practices and report the same to the EEOC; they must also make sure to give their employees appropriate training.

The noteworthy thing about this case is that the EEOC, upon receiving the complaint, ultimately decided to take up legal action against the hospital itself. The usual course of action is for the EEOC to grant leave for the victim to sue privately, even if the EEOC finds the case has merit.

In California, after filing an EEOC complaint, a Los Angeles resident who feels he or she was wrongfully terminated or otherwise singled out because of his or her age has legal options they may want to consider.

Source: Telluride Daily Planet, "Hospital settles age-discrimination suit," Josh Criado, Jan. 10, 2018

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