Maytag settles age bias lawsuit brought by federal government

Maytag settles age bias suit brought by federal government
 
Date December 06, 2005
Section(s) Local News
Brief  
 
By PETER HUSSMANN

Editor

Maytag Corp., has agreed to pay $334,500 to settle a class action lawsuit over age discrimination claims brought by the federal government on behalf of senior members of its sales team a year ago.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced on Monday that a federal judge in Chicago approved the consent decree that resolves the lawsuit filed by the EEOC against the appliance manufacturer in July 2004. The suit was filed on behalf of older managers who were allegedly demoted due to age discrimination during a 1999 restructuring.

Maytag spokesperson Karen Lynn said the corporation “emphatically denies” the allegations contained in the suit but felt entering the settlement “was in the best interest of the company.”

Maytag took steps to protect all employees affected by the reorganization when it took place several years ago,” Lynn said. “Maytag is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate on the basis of age.”

The lawsuit arose from a charge of discrimination filed by Matthew Max, a long-time Maytag sales manager, who alleged that he had been demoted during a 1999 restructuring in violation of the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act. EEOC expanded the suit alleging Maytag had downgraded several other employees from their positions as regional sales managers due to their age.

In addition to the monetary relief, Maytag will also be required to report twice a year to the EEOC regarding terminations and demotions from the ranks of its sales managers; provide training to sales managers on the requirements of age discrimination laws; post a notice reflecting the terms of the consent decree in its Newton headquarters and mail copies to sales managers. In addition, the decree calls for Maytag‘s vice president of human relations to meet with the EEOC’s Chicago office director within 90 days.

“EEOC believes that a face-to-face meeting with a member of Maytag‘s senior management team — in which we can lay out what our expectations are in terms of corporate compliance with the ADEA — will likely prove to be a very effective way of ensuring that the company adheres to the requirements of the law in the future,” said John Rowe, the EEOC’s Chicago office director.

Maytag said it welcomed and sought the input.

“The training and other requirements of the decree are consistent with training program already offered on a regular basis by our Human Resources department,” Lynn said. “The meeting referenced was requested by Maytag. We felt the meeting would be beneficial to both parties and assist in our understanding of the requirement.”

The consent decree also resolves the individual lawsuit brought by Max against Maytag.

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