A hospital in Montrose, Colorado agreed to pay $400,000 and furnish other relief to settle an age discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced on January 4, 2018.
The EEOC alleged Montrose violated federal law when twenty-nine employees, aged 40 and older, were fired or forced to resign. The EEOC asserted the employees, many with ten to twenty or more years of employment at the hospital, were fired for performance deficiencies when younger employees were treated more leniently. The EEOC also alleged that hospital managers made ageist comments, including that younger nurses could "dance around the older nurses" and that they preferred younger and "fresher" nurses. The EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado (EEOC v. Montrose Memorial Hospital, Inc., Case No. 1:16-cv-02277-WYD-GPG (D. Colo.)) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to monetary damages, the consent decree settling the suit requires Montrose to conduct annual anti-discrimination training for its employees, managers, supervisors and human resources employees. Montrose will also revise and distribute its anti-discrimination policy and report to EEOC any complaints of age discrimination. The court approved the settlement and will retain jurisdiction for purposes of compliance for three years.