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Age Discrimination Lawsuit Filed Against AT&T

September 4, 2009

An age discrimination lawsuit has been filed recently against AT&T, Inc., by The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The suit accuses the telecommunications company of discriminating against AT&T employees who took voluntary severance and retirement packages by denying the possibility of reemployment.

According to the EEOC press release, John Yates and a class of other retired AT&T workers who took early retirement plans, are being denied the opportunity to reapply for employment-- violating the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).

The lawsuit, filed by Yates and the EEOC in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, claimed that the AT&T workers are being denied the opportunity for reemployment because of participating in the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program (VRIP), the Enhanced Pension and Retirement Program (ERP) or other forms of retirement plans.

The Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967 protects individuals from age-based discrimination who are forty years of age or older. For employers with twenty or more employees, including state and local governments, the ADEA prohibits employers from using age as a basis for hiring, firing, promoting or compensating.

In the state of California, age discrimination is a violation of the state's Labor law. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) also protects workers over the age of forty from age discrimination by making it illegal to use age as a basis to make decisions on hiring, firing, pay, and promotion.

The EEOC stated that the organization is focused on reevaluating age discrimination, and enforcing the ADEA. All employees should be allowed to compete for job opportunity equally regardless of age, and the EEOC commits to taking action when the ADEA has been violated. The New York Times reported that the AT&T early retirement programs have affected more than 50,000 people, though it is not yet known how many of these employees have been discriminated against. The EEOC is asking the court to pay unpaid wages to the employees who have experienced age discrimination.

AT&T is based in Dallas, and operates as the world's largest telecommunications company.

U.S. Lawsuit Accuses AT&T of Age Bias, New York Times/AP, August 20, 2009

EEOC Files Age Discrimination Suit Against Telecommunications Giant AT&T, EEOC Press Release, August 20, 2009

EEOC Sues AT&T, Alleging Age Discrimination, Washington Post, August 21, 2009

Federal suit charges AT&T with Age Bias, Phoenix Business Journal, August 25, 2009

Related Web Resources:

The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH)

California Fair Employment and Housing Commission (FEHC)

The Age Discrimination Act of 1967,


Our skilled Anaheim-based Labor and Employment Lawyers are knowledgeable about workplace age discrimination in Orange County and throughout Southern California. If you are over forty, and feel that you have been discriminated against because of your age, contact Howard Law, PC today to schedule a free consultation about your rights.