Thursday, March 25, 2010
Imagine working years for a company, dedicating your life to your profession, and then being repeatedly told by your supervisor that your age and experience were actually a disservice to that company. This is exactly what happened to a 7O-year-old woman in Hawaii.
On Wednesday, it was announced that Kmart Corp. will pay $120,000 to settle an alleged age discrimination case involving one of its pharmacists in Honolulu. The lawsuit, filed last year by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claimed that the woman was subjected to harassment, humiliation, and retaliation over a four-year period. According to the suit, a pharmacy manager at the Honolulu store repeatedly told a 70-year-old female pharmacist that she was “too old,” “should just retire,” and was “greedy” because she was still working.
In a notebook expressly used for pharmacy department communication, the manager allegedly wrote about the woman: “The pharmacy is no longer your forte,” and, “You need to retire from pharmacy work now.” The same manager scheduled her to work on Sundays even though it was common knowledge she attended church and regularly encouraged the woman to quit. But the woman continued to work, eventually complaining to a district manager, a general manager, and also a human resources manager. Sadly, she was offered no support or help from any of those she contacted while the abuse and discrimination continued to take place. The woman soon quit Kmart, filing a suit with the EEOC last June.
In addition to paying $120,000 in damages, Kmart has agreed to hire an EEOC trainer to review the company’s current polices on anti discrimination, provide training on anti discrimination to its employees, and enforce mandatory disciplinary actions on management who violate the polices.