Federal officials have sued Ohio State University (OSU) for alleged age discrimination after the university fired a human resources generalist in the College of Education and Human Ecology (CEHE) because of his age.
In its lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged OSU with firing the employee and replacing him with a younger and less-qualified worker. The agency further charged that when the older former employee sought reemployment by applying for numerous human resource positions, OSU consistently selected younger, less qualified individuals.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the 53-year-old human resources generalist was terminated along with two other CEHE employees in their sixties as part of a reduction in force (RIF), despite receiving satisfactory performance reviews during his 12-year tenure with OSU.
The university assigned a substantial portion of his duties to a 28-year-old employee who had been with OSU for just eight months. According to the lawsuit, the younger employee was promoted to the position of human resources generalist just six months after the RIF.
Such alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), which protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age. The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. The Ohio State University, Civil Action No.2:20-cv-04624-ALM-KAJ), after first attempting to reach a voluntary, pre-suit settlement through the EEOC’s conciliation process.
The EEOC will seek monetary damages including back pay, liquidated damages, and, if necessary, front pay. The EEOC will also seek appropriate non-monetary remedies to protect the public interest and ensure that age discrimination within OSU’s CEHE does not continue.
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