U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued the following announcement on April 22.
Fort Worth-based Atlas Energy Group LLC has agreed to pay $85,000 and furnish significant relief to settle an age discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced.
The EEOC charged that a then 52-year old production foreman with more than 20 years of industry experience was pushed out of his job because of his age by a new, young superintendent. The production foreman was considered "very knowledgeable" by the pumpers and field operators he supervised.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects individuals age 40 and over from employment discrimination because of their age, including discrimination in discharge decisions. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas (EEOC v. Atlas Energy Group LLC, Civil Action No. 3:17-cv-01582), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
A three-year consent decree settling the suit was signed by U.S. District Court Judge David C. Godbey on April 19, 2019. In addition to paying $85,000 in monetary relief to the production foreman, the decree enjoins Atlas Energy Group from engaging in age discrimination in the future. The company has also agreed to provide training on age discrimination to its managerial and human resources employees, post a notice of employee rights under the ADEA, and report future complaints of age discrimination to the EEOC.
"Casting off long-term employees - who could otherwise continue to be solid contributors - based on age alone is unlawful and unacceptable," said EEOC Regional Attorney Robert Canino. "The EEOC will continue to combat this practice."
EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Joel Clark added, "Employers are not entitled to fire people based solely on stereotypes and assumptions. "The people on the job who knew this man best attested to his worth. The EEOC will keep fighting for the rights of people who ask only to be judged on merit."