Experience is viewed as one of the key traits that every potential employee must have. However, there are times when too much experience is viewed not as an asset but as a hindrance when it comes to being hired. The chances of being contacted for an interview drop dramatically as a person goes from being a younger adult entering the workforce to a middle-aged American. Age discrimination researchers have found that at least two-thirds of adults over 45 have experienced some form of ageism at their workplace, with job applicants over the age of 40 facing incredible obstacles when attempting to find employment. In 2016, one group of Colorado employees filed a lawsuit against their employer after becoming victims of age discrimination.
Located in western Colorado, Montrose Memorial Hospital employees hundreds of healthcare professionals and is known for its state-of-the-art medical facilities. Founded in 1950, the hospital takes pride in providing the highest standard of care within its community, growing from a 25-bed hospital into a medical facility that can support 75 beds along with numerous outpatient services. Between 2010 and 2013 the majority of the hospital’s staff was at least 40 years old with a highly experienced nursing staff. Dozens of staff members who were over 40 years old claim that rather than valuing their decades of medical training, Montrose insulted older staff members and took steps to get rid of them through forced resignation or termination.
Older staff members working at Montrose Memorial Hospital claim that they were treated harsher than their younger peers. In their complaints, 30 former Montrose employees stated that they were subjected to disciplinary actions for minor or unfounded infractions while errors made by younger employees were treated with less harshness or ignored entirely. Managers frequently expressed desires to remove all of the older nurses from the staff and hire only “fresh” or younger nurses. Employees who were 40 or older were either placed in situations in which they were forced to resign or were fired under questionable circumstances.
Lawsuit Filed and Settled
After failing to come to an agreement with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) an age discrimination lawsuit was brought against Montrose Memorial Hospital in September of 2016. EEOC v. Montrose Memorial Hospital, Inc. accused the hospital of violating the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and sought monetary damages along with anti-discrimination training for current and future employees. Though Montrose strongly denies any wrongdoing and addressed the allegations of one out of the 29 employees involved in the complaints that led to the lawsuit Montrose ultimately settled agreeing to pay $400,000 and provide other forms of relief.
Confronting Ageism in the Workplace
As adults in the United States live and remain active longer, the average age of employees will continue to increase. Experienced adults who decide to remain in the workforce deserve the same treatment and consideration as their younger counterparts. The team at HKM Employment Attorneys is dedicated to preserving the rights of employees who are the victim of age-related discrimination. If you or someone close to you believe that age-based discrimination has occurred, contact our Denver, Colorado office today to schedule a consultation so that we can begin discussing your legal needs.