City Rejected Older Applicant for Less Qualified Younger One, Federal Agency Charged
DES MOINES – A federal district court judge in Des Moines has entered a consent decree resolving an age discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against the City of Boone, Iowa, the federal agency announced today.
The EEOC had charged that the city violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) by hiring a 25-year-old with little relevant experience as municipal infraction officer instead of Larry Cook, a 62-year-old with extensive construction, electronics and communications experience. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. City of Boone, Iowa, Civil Action No. 04:10-cv-00233) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa on May 24, 2010, after first trying to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
The decree entered by U.S. District Judge Robert W. Pratt yesterday, June 29, prohibits future discrimination and provides that the city will pay Cook $65,000. The city will also train its managers and supervisors regarding employers’ obligations and the rights of job applicants under the ADEA.
“Older workers, who have given so much for so long to our American economy, don’t lose the right to earn a living because of their age,” said John C. Hendrickson, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Chicago District Office, which is responsible for EEOC litigation in Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota.
The case was litigated by Senior Trial Attorney Dennis R. McBride of the EEOC’s Milwaukee Area Office. McBride said, “More than ever, it is important for the EEOC to protect older workers and to shatter the myth that younger always means better. We appreciate the city’s willingness to provide relief for Mr. Cook and to ensure that discrimination does not recur there.”
The City of Boone, which is about 15 miles west of Ames and 30 miles northwest of Des Moines, had a population of 12,478 as of 2009.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information is available on the EEOC’s web site at www.eeoc.gov.