A Company Has to Pay a Woman $105,000 in Back Pay and Damages After Firing Her When She Refused to Retire at 65

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This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

A former employee is set to receive $105,000 in back pay and damages after her company of nearly 20 years fired her when she refused to retire at 65, according to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

A discrimination lawsuit filed by the federal agency said J&M Industries, Inc., a manufacturing and distribution company in Louisiana, violated federal age-discrimination laws by firing the employee.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits discrimination against individuals age 40 or older based on age.

In a news release outlining the suit’s outcome last week, the EEOC said a company manager repeatedly asked the employee, who wasn’t named, about her retirement plans as she approached her 65th birthday.

The manager directly asked her, “When are you going to retire,” “Why don’t you retire at 65,” and “What is the reason you are not retiring?” the EEOC‘s lawsuit said.

When she told the company she had no immediate plans to stop working, the company informed her that her role as a purchasing agent was being eliminated due to economic uncertainty, the federal agency said.

But the EEOC said the company hired a man in his 30s for the same role, which it had claimed to be eliminating, within a month.

The Miami Herald reported that the company denied firing the woman because of her age, saying the 39-year-old replacement had “broader, more significant duties than she did.”

The company said comments made about her retirement plans were either “stray remarks” or were related to succession planning, per The Miami Herald.

Under the three-year consent decree settling the suit, the company agreed to pay $105,000 in back pay and liquidated damages, provide training, revise policies, provide regular reports to the EEOC, and post a notice affirming compliance with the ADEA law.

The EEOC filed the suit in the Eastern District of Louisiana.

“This resolution serves the public interest,” Rudy Sustaita, the regional attorney for the EEOC’s Houston District Office, said in a statement.

“It provides relief for the former employee and will help protect others from age discrimination,” he added. “We are pleased that the EEOC and J&M Industries were able to reach this resolution.”

J&M Industries didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider, which was sent outside operating hours.

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