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Milpitas, California, has settled a lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, agreeing to pay $140,000 on a claim of age bias. The settlement came after the EEOC filed a lawsuit against the city in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

The agency filed the lawsuit on behalf of three individuals over the age of 50 who applied for a position as an executive secretary for the city's manager. Although the applicants obtained higher scores than other applicants, the city chose to hire a 39-year-old applicant who scored lower.

The city entered the settlement via consent decree while maintaining its denial of the allegations. The $140,000 will be paid to three people who were affected. The city also agreed to revise its policies about age discrimination and to distribute the updated policies to its employees. It will also have to report any additional claims alleging age discrimination to the EEOC for the next two years.

Workplace discrimination is both insidious and prevalent. Discrimination against a worker or applicant based on a protected status is illegal under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act offers further protections to workers who are at or over the age of 40. People who have experienced discriminatory actions by their employers or prospective employers based on their age, race, color, religion, national origin, sex or another covered status may have a valid basis for filing claims with the EEOC. There is a limited time window allowed for this process, and thus people may thus want to consult with an employment law attorney as soon as possible after the discriminatory action has been taken.

Source: PlanSponsor, "California city settles age bias charge," Rebecca Moore, April 20, 2016.

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