A Charlotte-area scrap metal processing company has agreed to settle an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced on June 17. The EEOC had charged that Southern Metals Company unlawfully refused to hire a 76-year-old man for a position because of his age.

Southern Metals Company recycles and processes different types of metals in the Charlotte Metro area. According to the EEOC’s complaint, Junior Revels applied for the position of diesel mechanic, for which he was fully qualified and able to perform the duties. In spite of his qualifications, Revels was told that Southern Metals had decided to hire someone “younger.” Thereafter, Southern Metals continued to seek applicants for the position and eventually hired an individual who was substantially younger and less qualified than Revels.

Such alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Southern Metals Company, Civil Action No. 3:09cv00410, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement out of court through its conciliation process.

In addition to monetary damages of $10,000 for Revels, the 24-month consent decree resolving the case includes injunctive relief enjoining the company from engaging in further age discrimination or retaliation against those who complain about discrimination; requires the posting of a notice about the settlement; and requires the company to report information about discrimination complaints to the EEOC for monitoring.

“The EEOC is pleased to have resolved this case on behalf of Mr. Revels,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office. “Employers must remember that older applicants are a valuable asset to the workforce, and they cannot be denied consideration for jobs because of their age. The EEOC, as part of its mission, will continue to enforce the rights of people age 40 and older under the ADEA.”

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available on the agency’s Web site at www.eeoc.gov